Selling Bb Gun to Unsupervised Child In Georgia
Could have employee reasonably foreseen that an unsupervised ten-year-old boy might load BBs into a BB pistol or BB gun and shoot another child, causing serious injury ?
We can find no Georgia case precisely on point.
However, similar scenarios occurred in Miceli v. Brown's Sporting Goods, Ill. App. No. 1-93-4188 (unpublished opinion) and Salvi v. Montgomery Ward & Co., 140 Ill. App. 3d 896, 909 (489 N.E.2d 394, 95 Ill. Dec. 173).
In Miceli, a child one month shy of his sixteenth birthday was struck in the eye by a BB that had ricocheted off a lamppost. He had been shooting at beer bottles that had been placed atop the post.
The child had purchased the gun from Brown's and the BBs from Sportmart, Inc., a retail sporting goods chain. the child's parents sued both companies.
The court cited Salvi for the proposition that it was reasonably foreseeable that the sale of a BB gun to a minor could result in the minor handling the gun negligently, causing injury. Id. at 909, 911.
Whether or not the sale of the gun was a proximate cause of the child's injuries was ruled a fact question, and summary judgment that had been granted to Brown's was reversed.
Summary judgment to Sportmart was affirmed, but for the reason that it had substantially complied with its policy prohibiting the sale of BBs to minors less than 16 years old. That policy reflects Sportmart's foresight that an unsupervised child might use the BBs to load a gun and injure himself or others.
"'If the original negligent actor reasonably could have anticipated or foreseen the intervening act and its consequences, then the intervening act of negligence will not relieve the original actor from liability for the consequences resulting from the intervening act. That is a jury question." Ballenger Paving Co. v. Gaines, 231 Ga. App. 565, 569 (1) (499 S.E.2d 722).