Attorneys for gun retailers rip AG Healey’s “cavalier” treatment of federal court rules

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BOSTON — Attorneys representing multiple in-state firearm businesses in a lawsuit challenging Attorney General Maura Healey’s “copycat” weapon enforcement directive have accused the Bay State’s top cop of “cavalierly” treating the rules governing federal court proceedings after she motioned to submit a 40-page dismissal memorandum — double the permitted length.

The explosive response by attorneys representing the Worcester-based Pullman Arms retailer, in addition to three other sellers and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, accuses Healey of failing to “explain in any sufficient way why double the allowed page is needed” and describes the opening portion of her memorandum as “constituting little more than a press release.”

“Further, despite having 60 days to file their responsive pleading, Defendant failed to seek leave before filing her double-size pleading, forcing Plaintiffs to respond to it before Defendant obtained leave to file it in the first place,” attorneys David R. Kerrigan of Kenney & Sams, P.C., and Michael J. Sullivan of the Ashcroft Law Firm, both based in Boston, allege.  

Healey submitted her 40-page dismissal memorandum on Nov. 22, in addition to nearly 140 pages of exhibits and a formal motion to dismiss. Kerrigan and Sullivan claim Healey “contends simply that she tried to file a memorandum of the proper length but could not do so not do so because she provided legislative history and ‘context’ for the arguments.”

Kerrigan and Sullivan note that their plaintiffs’ federal lawsuit “is not unusually long nor are the legal issues particularly complicated” and added that the original complaint was filed because Healey’s enforcement order is “too vague to understand.”

Last week, in conjunction with Healey’s filing, a spokesman for the attorney general said in a prepared statement that the enforcement order has already resulted in its intended effect as “the illegal sale of assault weapons in Massachusetts has effectively ended.”

Kerrigan and Sullivan countered in their filing Tuesday that retailers have halted sales of the firearms in question because of the vagueness of the enforcement order and not because of any specific laws.

Kerrigan and Sullivan claim that Healey’s motion, in which she claims she “made every effort to condense and streamline the arguments in support of the motion to dismiss,” fails to make the case for why a double-length is needed.

“Its failure to do so justifies denial of its request when the Attorney General (1) includes a two page introduction which constitutes little more than a press release containing irrelevant information concerning reasons for her decision to enact the regulations, which do not appear anywhere in the complaint; and (2) legislative history based on press releases and other outside sources not contained in the complaint,” the attorneys state in their response. “Allowing the Defendant to spend nearly 10 pages on irrelevant matters, and then another 30 pages ignoring the complaint’s chief claim, requires the Plaintiffs to address these irrelevant issues and will likely require opposition and reply memoranda which exceed the allowed length.”

Massachusetts U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman, who is presiding over the case, has yet to issue a ruling as of Tuesday afternoon.

Read Healey’s motion in support of filing her 40-page memorandum:

2016-11-22 Healey Motion for 40 Pages by Evan on Scribd

Read the opposition motion:

2016-11-29 Opposition Motion Healey Pullman by Evan on Scribd