Jessica Ghawi: Colorado Shooting Victim’s Parents Ordered To Pay $203,000 To Ammo Dealer That Sold To Her Killer

Aric Mitchell - Author

Sep. 25 2015, Updated 2:02 p.m. ET

Jessica Ghawi was one of the victims gunned down in the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting at the hands of convicted killer James Holmes during a showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

Lonnie and Sandy Phillips, her parents, decided to go after the Lucky Gunner ammo dealer that sold much of Holmes’ arsenal to him with the pro bono help of attorneys at Arnold and Porter and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Thinking that the Lucky Gunner was negligent for not doing due diligence in checking out Holmes’ mental stability before selling to him, the Phillips believed they had a case.

Unfortunately for them, they were wrong.

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Not only did they lose the case, but a stipulation of Colorado law that allowed recovery of attorneys’ fees by the winner in a civil case left the grieving mom and dad to pay $203,000 to the merchants, who helped to arm the killer of Jessica Ghawi.

The entire gut-wrenching ordeal is outlined in a new piece for the Huffington Post that the Phillips penned themselves entitled, “We Lost Our Daughter to a Mass Shooter and Now Owe $203,000 to His Ammo Dealer.”

Here’s an excerpt from the piece.

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“The judge dismissed our case because, he said, these online sellers had special immunity from the general duty to use reasonable care under the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and a Colorado immunity law. If you couple the PLCAA law with Colorado’s law HB 000-208… you have an impenetrable barrier to using the judicial system to effect change in gun legislation in Colorado.

“Everyone else in society has a duty to use reasonable care to not injure others — except gun and ammunition sellers.

“To make matters worse, the judge ordered that we pay $203,000…. Lucky Gunner has said that it is going to donate all these fees to ‘gun rights’ groups. The thought is disgusting to us that Lucky Gunner does not even plan to use this money to pay for their attorney’s fees.”

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In the judge’s ruling, which Lucky Gunner proudly points out on its website, the judge wrote that he believed the case to be filed “to pursue the political purposes of the Brady Center and, given the failure to present any cognizable legal claim, bringing these defendants [Lucky Gunner] into the Colorado court… appears to be more of an opportunity to propagandize the public and stigmatize the defendants than to obtain a court order.”

Lucky Gunner plans to use the judgment it received from the Colorado Court to support gun rights organizations, which are named here.

There were quite a few angry commenters on the HuffPo piece, which isn’t necessarily surprising considering the news site’s left-leaning slant.

Still, some stood with the Lucky Gunner.

“Your loss doesn’t make it ok to file frivolous lawsuits against law abiding businesses,” wrote Christopher Moss.

“So, you filed a frivolous lawsuit and now you have to pay for it? Good. Sorry for your loss,” added Dan MacRae.

And just so you know that all the support wasn’t coming from men, here’s what Libby Pierson had to say.

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“Not outrageous at all actually. When you file a frivolous lawsuit, and it doesn’t get much more frivolous than this, you should absolutely be required to pay the court and attorney fees for the other party. I’m sorry for their loss but overjoyed they lost this lawsuit.”

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Do you think it’s right that the parents of Jessica Ghawi should have to pay $203,000 to Lucky Gunner in attorneys’ fees after the loss of their daughter? And if not, whose responsibility should those fees belong to — the merchant or the Brady Center? Sound off in the comments section.

[Image of Jessica Ghawi via Family]


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