In the year 2000, a young woman of age 20, Tiffany Hardware, bought a new .38 caliber pistol, also known as a ‘Saturday Night Special’ with the brand of Bryco/Jennings from a pawnshop in Macon, Georgia. At the time of the purchase, the pawnshop was owned by a man by the name of Ronald Richardson.
After the gun was purchased, Hardware’s friend tried to shoot the weapon, but instead the weapon jammed. As a result, the young Hardware returned the weapon to the pawnshop owner Richardson. Richardson then attempted to unlock the slide of the pistol that had been locked in place. He was not successful in doing so, however.
Richardson then removed the magazine from the gun and put the gun back into the gun case, gave it back to Hardware, and told her to return to the pawnshop the following Monday for Richardson’s “gun guy” to inspect it. When Richardson placed the gun back into the case, a round of live ammunition was still in the chamber of the gun and, to make matters worse, the gun was cocked.
Later that evening, when Hardware was putting her purse and some other things on a table, she dropped the gun. The gun fired, and it hit her younger brother, Billy Bullard, age 15, in the stomach. The young brother Bullard was rushed to the hospital where he passed away a short while after his arrival at the hospital.
Linda Bullard, the mother of Billy Bullard, filed suit against the pawnshop owner Richardson for negligence in leaving the live round in the the gun after he was unsuccessful in unjamming the weapon. Ultimately, there were a total of three (3) Defendants in the lawsuit including Bruce Jennings who was the owner of the gun manufacturer, Bryco Arms.
The litigation in the Bullard case was stalled for several years due to Jennings having other legal problems including another lawsuit where a jury ruled against him and awarded $ 24 Million to a paralyzed 7 year old little boy who sustained said injury when a Bryco gun discharged accidentally. Jennings subsequently filed bankruptcy, relocated, and was ultimately sent to federal prison on pornography charges.
When the Bullard case ultimately went to trial, it lasted a week and a Fulton County State Court Jury took only seven (7) hours to reach a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff in the amount of approximately $ 6 Million Dollars. The Court awarded a total judgement of $ 9.6 Million as follows: The approximate $ 6 Million Dollar Jury Verdict, plus $ 1.4 million in legal interest, and $ 2.2 million as a default judgment for those defendants, including Jennings, who failed to appear for the trial.
It should be duly noted, however, that there are post-verdict motions pending and, to date, a final judgement has not been entered in the case.
As in most Wrongful Death cases, money does not replace the life that has been lost and especially a life of a vibrant young man such as Billy Bullard.
Our sympathies and thoughts go out to the Bullard family and any family who has lost a loved one due to the negligent acts of another. It seems senseless.
At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates we have been successfully representing clients in Wrongful Death, Catastrophic Injury, and Negligence Cases for a collective of over 75 years so if you or a loved one have been injured or killed as a result of the negligent acts of another, then please kindly Contact Us for your free legal consultation.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!