Friday, September 15, 2023

Judge Rules Franklin Armory’s “Title 1” Lawsuit Against California DOJ

In a ruling issued Friday, September 8, Judge Daniel S. Murphy of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles affirmed that the damage claims in a lawsuit filed by Franklin Armory against the California Department of Justice (DOJ) are sufficient to proceed with litigation.

The civil case, Franklin Armory, Inc., et al. vs. California Department of Justice, et al, is a Second Amended Complaint (SAC) filed in conjunction with California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA), which alleges a number of unlawful actions by the DOJ and Former Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, that prevented the sale of Franklin Armory’s Title 1® firearm and other types of firearms.

In his ruling, Judge Murphy permitted the negligent interference with prospective economic advantage claims to proceed, holding:

Plaintiffs have alleged facts to establish that Becerra failed to abide by the Penal Code’s mandate that records of “all firearms” transfers must include information such as the type of firearm. (See Pen. Code, § 28160(a).) As discussed above, the DES [Dealer Record of Sale Entry System] did not have a method to accurately identify Title I firearms. Plaintiffs allege that Becerra intentionally refused to reform DES to allow for the accurate identification of Title I firearms. Therefore, Becerra allegedly violated the Penal Code mandate that all required information must be reflected in a firearm transfer. This constitutes an independently wrongful act.

Other causes of action brought by Franklin Armory were deemed mooted by the Defendants’ compliance with Franklin Armory’s demands after filing the lawsuit, since “the DES was overhauled in October 2021 and now indisputably includes a proper method to report Title I firearms,” among others; “Defendants are no longer using tax dollars to implement a discriminatory reporting system.”

“We are pleased that the DOJ has rectified the defects in the DES and that Judge Murphy rightfully acknowledged the claims for damages against California DOJ’s egregious abuses of power,” said Franklin Armory President Jay Jacobson. “We are confident in the merits of our case and are encouraged by this ruling, which gives hope to those of us who believe government officials should be held fully accountable for their wrongdoings.”

Full details of the case and available documents can be found on the website of Michel & Associates, attorneys for Franklin Armory and CRPA.