On April 13, 2011, Jitka Vesel, a 36-year-old immigrant from the Czech Republic was shot and killed by Demetry Smirnov, a Russian immigrant residing in Canada who had met Jitka online a few years earlier. Smirnov stalked her to her workplace parking lot where he shot her 11-12 times with a .40-caliber handgun….
The complaint alleges that [Smirnov] illegally purchased from a private seller whom he located through armslist.com, an online gun auction site owned by defendant Armslist, LLC. The complaint alleges that the website’s design facilitates illegal gun sales to unlawful gun buyers with no background checks and no questions asked, and encourages and enables users to evade laws that allow private sellers to sell firearms only to residents of their own state by enticing prospective buyers to search for and find gun sellers throughout all 50 states….
I argued when the lawsuit was filed that it was preempted by 47 U.S.C. § 230, which generally bars lawsuits against Web sites for material posted by their users. I still think that’s so, but the court didn’t reach that theory, because it concluded that the lawsuit was unfounded under Illinois tort law. A key excerpt (paragraph break added):
To determine whether a duty exists, in light of public policy, the Court considers four factors: “(1) the reasonable foreseeability of the injury; (2) the likelihood of the injury; (3) the magnitude of the burden of guarding against the injury; and (4) the consequences of placing that burden on the defendant.” City of Chi. v. Beretta U.S.A. Corp., 821 N.E. 2d 1099, 1125 (Ill. 2004) (citing Bajwa v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 804 N.E.2d