It was nigh on a year ago that we first covered the defamation lawsuit brought against Snipers Hide by a disgruntled ‘custom’ rifle builder calling itself Tactical Rifles. If you may recall, Marc Soulie of Spartan Precision Rifles posted this warts-and-all Youtube review of a Tactical Rifles tactical rifle on Sniper’s Hide, after which all hell broke loose. Soulie’s review was basically all warts (my box-stock 700 BDL was probably put together better than this ‘custom’ rifle) and Tactical Rifles’ butt-hurt response was to sue him, Snipers Hide, and SH owner Frank Galli in a Florida federal court. The case has been dismissed, but this opera ain’t anywhere near over. In fact, the fat lady hasn’t even taken the stage . . .
Tactical Rifles’ lawsuit was dismissed this week by a Florida federal court, but said dismissal was not (in lawyerly terms) ‘on the merits.’ Instead of ruling that Tactical Rifles’ claims were BS as we were hoping, the court ruled that it couldn’t rule on the case at all because it lacked personal jurisdiction over Soulie, Galli and Snipers Hide.
What in blue blazes is personal jurisdiction? While I know that this is a massive oversimplification, personal jurisdiction is the power that a court in State X has to order you around when you don’t live there. This power is based on each state’s ‘long-arm’ jurisdiction statute, in combination with how much contact you have with State X and whether you have purposely availed yourself of its laws. If State X doesn’t have personal jurisdiction over you, you can’t be sued in that state. This is meant to protect you from being sued by people you’ve never met in states you’ve never visited.
Tactical Rifles filed its lawsuits in a Florida federal court, but Soulie lives and works in California and Galli runs Snipers Hide out of Denver, Colorado. In the 20-page order of dismissal, the Tampa federal court concluded that Florida’s long-arm jurisdiction statute does not cover the kind of blog posts and YouTube videos at issue here. The court also noted that, even if Soulie and Galli’s conduct had satisfied the Florida long-arm statute, neither of them do business in Florida nor own property in Florida, and that it would be unconstitutionally burdensome to make them travel to Florida (which Soulie has never even visited, for crying out loud) to defend a lawsuit there.
Therefore Florida has no personal jurisdiction over the defendants, and the case must be dismissed.
The Tampa court also notes, in details that must be humiliating for Tactical Rifles’ lawyers, just how clumsy and inadequate their legal pleadings were. When a court dismisses your case using terms like ‘threadbare recitals,’ ‘bare allegations’ and ‘pleading deficiencies’, it’s probably time to sue your lawyers for malpractice or at least demand a big refund.
The practical upshot of all this is that Tactical Rifles is back to Square Zero in their vendetta against Soulie, Galli and Snipers Hide, but that’s not the end of things. Since the case wasn’t dismissed on the merits, TR is free to re-file its lawsuit in Colorado or California or both.
This would force Galli and Souli to pony up for another round of legal fees, but it might not happen. The Tampa court decision took pains to highlight a host of legal and factual deficiencies that make Tactical Rifles’ case, in the words of Joe Grine’s and my old law professor, “a long reach for the biscuits.”
Some of these defects might be curable, and some might not. At this point in the game, Tactical Rifles might have a better malpractice case against its own legal team than it does against Soulie and Galli and Snipers Hide.
We hope so, but either way we hope this is the last word we’ll ever have to publish about this stupid lawsuit.
I hope TR’s entree paired well with that whine.
“in the words of Joe Grine’s and my old law professor, “a long reach for the biscuits.””
I find great humor in them words.
You know a good company when they, first of all, put out a good product.
You know a good company when they, second of all, take responsibility for putting out a bad product.
You know a good company when they, lastly, take all reasonable and necessary steps to correct any deficiencies in their product.
Tactical Rifles is definitely not a good company.
We sure they didn’t represent themselves?
A corporation can’t “represent itself.” It must have legal counsel.
Suit should be allowed to go forward on the basis of posting video shot in portrait mode.
Awesome that you included a link to the original video so that people are aware of the true merit of this case: this builder produced/produces a sub-par product and their customer service sucks.
A person has to wonder why the heck they would file the case in a state that neither they nor the defendant reside in, and you have to wonder why the lawyers would go along with it.
Most lawyers care about absolutely nothing other than money, power, and prestige. And most politicians are lawyers.
Maybe im too stupid to see the obvious, But wasn’t that simply one Custom rifle company running down another custom rifle company?… Is there more to this? because I too can find a better razor to shave without running down Bic… and even if Bic’s best is better then Gillette worst…. that’s not grounds for a law suit.
This was just plain stoopid.
Read for yourself
Read for yourself:
If you can see chamber run-out in the bbl with naked eye, I think this goes beyond just one builder running down another.
Anyone selling their services as a custom rifle builder should be doing better work than than, make good on it to the customer if this is a one-time mistake, or expect the backlash when it is discovered.
If you bought a brand new car that had supposedly had a blueprinting job on the engine and your mechanic found the cylinder head visibly not even sitting straight on the block, would you call it just your mechanic running down the shop that did the blueprinting?
There are some things in the ‘review’ that may be arguably overly “picky,” but a poor fit between barrel and receiver and off-center (or crooked) chamber cut is unacceptable and should have never left TR’s door (if they care at all about reputation).
And I thought this was burried last year this opera.
Another gun company acting butthurt when you point out they are weasels putting out a crappy product. Seems to me this is the third such instance I’ve seen mentioned here in the last month.
The correct term for this type of behavior is called malicious prosecution.
The number of disgruntled customers who have contacted us and forwarded their personal email exchanges with TR.Net tells the tale better than we can. Court would have been entertaining. Some have sent us their discarded “parts” from brand new rifles that had to be removed or repaired. On top of the guys who have offered us their TR rifles as evidence to the court. Because we stood up to this bullying tactic, it has empowered customers to file their own complaints against TR.NET. Once they saw they weren’t alone or unique, it helped a lot of people.
We just really appreciate all the support members of the community have shown.
Did Chris Dumm ever do a follow-up to his April 2011 write-up of the Leold VX II? If so, how can I access?
Leupold VX II
What a disappointment! I really liked- and was considering–TR’s wooden-stocked bull barrel model. Oh well, back to searching the internet for the “perfect rifle”.
Just what the doctor oreedrd, thankity you!
I do like the way you have framed this challenge and it does offer me a lot of fodder for consideration. However, coming from what precisely I have witnessed, I just simply hope when other feed-back stack on that people stay on issue and in no way embark on a tirade of the news of the day. All the same, thank you for this outstanding point and although I do not agree with the idea in totality, I regard the point of view.