TRENTON – Today, the Supreme Court of New Jersey issued an order in favor of the Acting Attorney General and the Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in a lawsuit over whether the firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson, Corp., must comply with an investigative subpoena issued in October 2020.
The subpoena is part of an ongoing investigation into potential Consumer Fraud Act violations related to the company’s advertising, marketing, and promotion of firearms to New Jersey residents. Instead of complying with the subpoena, Smith & Wesson sued in federal court, challenging the subpoena as unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the State sued Smith & Wesson in state court to require the company to comply with the subpoena.
On June 30, 2021, the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled in favor of the State and required the company to respond fully to the subpoena. Smith & Wesson sought an order from the New Jersey Supreme Court that would allow it to avoid compliance with the subpoena while litigation continues, but today the Supreme Court issued an order denying that motion for a stay pending appeal without any noted dissent. In addition, on August 2, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed Smith & Wesson’s federal lawsuit.
As a result of these court decisions, Smith & Wesson must fully respond to the State’s subpoena immediately.
“Today’s decision confirms what we have said from the beginning of the case: no industry is free to evade compliance with New Jersey’s consumer protection laws, even when they sell firearms,” said Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck. “Smith & Wesson has tried in four different courts to get out of complying with a simple subpoena, and it has lost in every single one. After months of litigation, we look forward to moving the investigation forward.”