October 26, 2020

Parent’s lawsuit over son’s hunting death rejected by Mississippi Supreme Court

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled against the parents who filed a lawsuit claiming a retailer was responsible for their son’s death in a 2012 deer-hunting accident.

Marsha and Thomas Hinton lost their appeal of a Jones County Circuit Court’s ruling that found no evidence of negligence on the part of Minnesota-based Sportsman’s Guide Inc. The retailer sold a tree stand and fall-arrest system to the Hinton’s son Timothy in 2012.  Timothy Hinton fell from the tree stand and the tree strap snapped, causing him to fall 18 feet. He died from the injuries.

Sportsman’s Guide is an online retailer of hunting and fishing gear, military surplus, ammunition and outdoor sporting goods. It is based in South St. Paul, Minnesota,

Marsha and Thomas Hinton argued that Sportsman’s Guide waived its rights as an innocent-seller, according to a report from Legal Newsline. Mississippi states that innocent sellers who aren’t actively negligent in an incident can’t be held responsible for any issues or damages the product causes.

The Supreme Court noted in its Nov. 14 ruling that Sportsman’s Guide never forfeited its right to use the innocent-seller provision as an affirmative defense. There’s also no proof that Sportsman’s Guide wasn’t an innocent seller, the report said.