South Georgia Local Government

After Being Shot in Leg at Courthouse, Effingham ADA is Suing Gun Manufacturer

An Effingham County Assistant District Attorney is suing a gun manufacturer after he was injured with his own gun while showing it to a colleague at the old Effingham County Courthouse.

Background

In April 2022, ADA Matt Breedon and his colleague Ian Heap were in the old Effingham County Courthouse when Breedon reportedly revealed his gun to show it to Heap. According to documents, Breedon’s coat button caused the firearm to discharge, resulting in Breedon being shot in the leg.

Sgt. John Bradley of the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident and completed a report, which was obtained by TGV News

You can read the complete report here, but among the excerpts:

Heap describes hearing a very loud and sharp crack….Breedon does not react immediately to the firearm discharging…ADA Deal apparently hears the gunshot, runs into ADA Heap’s office, and asks what happened….Deal asks if he should call 911 at which time ADA Breedon utters ‘No.’

At this point, ADA Breedon collapses and is unfamiliar with his current location. ADA Heap instructs ADA to call 911 and tell them to send an ambulance. ADA Breedon now begins turning to a grayish color and starts “grunting” and “drooling.” When ADA Heap witnesses these particular behaviors, he yells for ADA Deal to hurry. 

According to ADA Breedon, ADA Heap claims to have told him there is no need to clear the weapon; however, ADA Breedon does not recall ADA Heap uttering that particular statement….After talking with ADA Heap and examining his jacket, ADA Breedon surmises that the weapons [sic] trigger caught a button on his jacket and discharges. ADA Breedon does recall looking and observing that his finger is on the weapon’s frame following the discharge.

Bradley ultimately determined it was an “unintentional discharge.” Breedon recovered and returned to work shortly after the incident. 

TGV News obtained the personnel file of Breedon, who is employed by Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Daphne Totten. The file revealed no disciplinary matters as they pertain to the shooting in the office. In fact, the file makes no mention of the incident occurring at all. 

In a memo to TGV News from Chief ADA Barclay Black, the office did not conduct an internal investigation into the shooting in the courthouse/district attorney’s office because it relied on the report from the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office. 

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The Lawsuit

Breedon is now suing the gun manufacturer in federal court. 

Court records show that Breedon has joined a class action lawsuit against New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer in which the plaintiffs assert that one of the models produced by the manufacturer ‘goes off by itself.’ The lawsuit says more than 100 incidents have occurred between February 2020 and October 2022 in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. In each, the user ‘believed they did not pull the trigger.’

Specifically, the lawsuit says Sig Sauer was negligent and has utilized deceptive marketing practices because it advertised “it won’t fire unless you want it to.”

One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, Daniel Ceisler, said “To make a gun with a trigger this short and this light without any sort of external safety is reckless and unprecedented.” 

Sig Sauer denies the claims that the pistols fire on their own. 

“The P320 is designed to fire when the trigger is pulled. It includes the internal safeties that prevent the firearm from discharging without a trigger pull,” Sig Sauer spokesperson Samantha Piatt said in a statement on December 5. The company also said the trigger pull force is “consistent with industry practice.”

The P320 has been on the market since 2014. In 2017, the company released a “voluntary upgrade” which offered an option that reduced the weight of the trigger. 

The lawsuit does not seek a specific remedy or amount in damages and instead requests a jury trial. 

Effingham County is in the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit, which encompasses Bulloch, Effingham, Jenkins, and Screven counties. He started with the office on December 1, 2020. Before working in Effingham, Breedon worked in Chatham County and the Dougherty Judicial Circuit in southwest Georgia.

You can read the lawsuit below.

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As reported in April of 2022:

FULL REPORT: Asst. DA Injured Following ‘Accidental Shooting’ at Effingham Courthouse
Jessica Szilagyi

administrator
Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast.' Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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