Do no harm

The Hippocratic Oath for doctors is (falsely) reputed to say “Do no harm” and I wish lawyers would take and follow such an oath. Robert Warden didn’t help and possibly hurt gun rights with his Federal Lawsuit against former Seattle Mayor Nickels about his ban on guns in city parks. It just got slapped down (dismissed with prejudice). See also the Seattle Times article.

I’m not lawyer but I’m concerned about the precedence this might have created. Yes, after the McDonald ruling most of the basis for the ruling will change but my concern is that portions of that ruling may linger and impede us for a long time.

H/T to Brian K., and Say Uncle for the pointers.

Update: Lawyer AlphaMike says, “Don’t worry about it in this case.


5 thoughts on “Do no harm

  1. Agreed, trouble is how do you determine which case will do harm and which case will help? The NRA was originally AGAINST the Heller Case because the NRA thought that a loss would be a disaster for RKBA.

    My understanding is that when you initiate a lawsuit you run the risk of losing and being worse off then when you started (if nothing else court fees/lawyers/your time/bad press). If you do not file a lawsuit you will not change the law. Without risk no gain.

    So how do we tell which lawsuits would have the best risk/gain ratio?

    If you (or anyone else) have a good way of telling which is which I would be interested in seeing that system.

    Best wishes

  2. IANAL, but I read the decision. It seems to be a roadmap for winning the case after McDonald incorporates the 2nd Amendment against state and local government. It correctly describes the state of the law today, while noting that if the 2nd were incorporated the result would be exactly opposite that of the current decision.

    And the state court already stopped the ban of carrying in parks on state pre-emption grounds, while this federal decision does not reinstate the park ban, so you have that going for you….

    I think these suits achieved their purpose: to stop the city from enforcing an unconstitutional statute. And after McDonald, a new federal suit against similar foolishness by the city will result in a very different federal outcome.

  3. NukemJim,

    He filed in Federal court on an issue that had been decided against us at the appeals court level. Unless he had the resources to take it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court he was going to fail.


    I’m worried about the “rational basis review” which included only the downside of firearms in parks without the potential upside of self-defense and defense of the same innocent children being “protected” by not allowing guns in the parks.

  4. The value of a District Court decision as precedent is close to nil. This was a ruling on a motion to dismiss, not a decision on the merits of the case after a trial. What the court is saying by granting a motion to dismiss is: “Sorry, we can’t do anything for you, Mr. Plaintiff.” I think the nub of this decision is that the case was mooted by the decision in state court. In other words, “Your side won, why are you still here?” The judge had to dismiss all the claims (equal protection etc.) to keep Mr. Warden from going forward with an amended complaint to fight about something that has already been decided in State court. It is important to note that just because this plaintiff can’t assert an equal protection claim in this case that doesn’t mean that the remaining state court plaintiffs can’t assert the same things in Federal Court if the Washington state appeals courts were to overturn the decision of the King County court.

    Nothing to see here folks, please move along.

  5. I’m definitely with Joe on this one. I just don’t see what he thought he would accomplish with this. The 2nd Amendment isn’t incorporated yet, and McDonald was already headed toward the USSC. So there was nothing to be gained from pushing his case forward.

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