Mexico v. Smith & Wesson: U.S. Court Duel Over Extraterritorial Legal Issues Looms with Motion to Dismiss

Mexico v. Smith & Wesson: U.S. Court Duel Over Extraterritorial Legal Issues Looms with Motion to Dismiss

On November 22, Smith & Wesson and other U.S. gun manufacturers and distributors moved to dismiss the civil complaint filed against them by Mexico in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. The case involves a number of transnational legal issues, including extraterritoriality, Mexico’s sovereign status, and the application of Mexican law in U.S. courts. The suit also highlights the growing relevance of transnational litigation in the field of corporate accountability. Mexico claims damages in the form of healthcare, security, and other costs, in addition to economic loss arising from the companies’ negligent failure “to exercise reasonable care” in manufacturing, marketing, and selling their guns in ways that reduce the likeliness of their being trafficked into and causing harm in Mexico. These alleged negligent practices, according to Mexico, are the “proximate cause” of the gun violence that has resulted in the loss of 68,387 lives in its territory since 2019 alone. Moreover, Mexico claims that gun manufacturers have profited from the illicit trafficking of their products, citing the substantial increase in the number of U.S. border-state stores while nationwide dealership is in decline. Background of the Case A lot is at stake for both Mexico and the defendants, which include six U.S.-based gun manufacturers, a U.S.-based wholesaler, and the non-U.S. parent companies of two of the manufacturers. In its complaint, Mexico claims that the respondents’ products “collectively account for nearly half of all crime guns recovered in Mexico” (47.9%) and for about 68.4% of all crime guns identified as originating […]

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