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By Larry Pratt

April 10, 2004

In a socialist society increasingly suffering from the politics of envy, filing �Hail Mary� lawsuits for outrageous awards is becoming as popular as playing the lottery and voting for a living.

The theory seems to be that if something bad happens to me, somebody should pay me for my suffering, even if they had nothing to do with the loss I suffered. People who live in flood plains and on beachfronts rely on the government sticking its hands in the pockets of taxpayers to bail them out from weather-related losses. This is called insurance, but it confuses real insurance, which is a voluntary pooling of assets to cover individual losses, with government subsidy of reckless behavior.

People who have experienced criminal attacks now seek to have the courts stick their hands in the pockets of somebody - anybody - so that they can be compensated financially. This has been dubbed �deeper pocket jurisprudence.�

This logic is now spreading to the families of practicing criminals. If a criminal�s victim manages to defend himself from a perpetrator�s attack, leaving the assailant dead or wounded, family members are increasingly suing the victim. And the courts are letting the suits proceed! After all, the victim has �deprived� the family of their �breadwinner.�

Lisa Pelland is a case in point.

Pelland was living in the home of a friend in Santa Fe, New Mexico in April of 2002. Late at night, she heard a noise in back of the house. Pelland went outside, armed with a handgun, and challenged the intruder who she found stacking bricks underneath her window. Rather than leave, the man advanced toward her. Pelland told the police that she shouted three times for him to stay away, but he kept coming.

Even when warned by Pelland that she had a gun, the intruder kept coming. At that point, Pelland, fearing for her life, shot the intruder, Jay Medina. Medina died shortly thereafter.

Medina had allegedly threatened to kill his estranged wife, Dena, and their children. Dena Medina had filed a protective order against her husband just days before his trespass on the property where Pelland was staying.

In his investigation of the case, Santa Fe police officer T. Trujillo stated that Mrs. Medina had also said her husband was an alcoholic who was addicted to pornography, and she suspected him of being a peeping tom - he often left the house at night with a set of binoculars.

The District Attorney in Santa Fe ruled that Pelland had acted in self-defense and that the shooting was a justifiable homicide. No charges were ever filed against Lisa Pelland.

Apparently, Mrs. Medina decided that her sad excuse for a husband was worth more dead than alive, and so has filed a suit for wrongful death against Lisa Pelland and incredibly, against the homeowner, Barbara Lux. Gratitude to the hindmost! Forget that Pelland kept Medina�s husband from carrying out his death threat against his own family- - something the police would have been unable to do.

Lisa Pelland is a recent widow without any assets. That did not keep the attorney representing Medina from filing against her anyway. There is nothing but the possibility of the homeowner�s insurance policy to squeeze out by winning the suit. Resources are being expended by the insurance company to defend both the homeowner and Lisa Pelland. At the same time, the insurance company is seeking to deny a defense to both these women in some legalese loophole. If successful, the insurance company could set dangerous precedent. Gun owners could conceivably be sued just for defending themselves with a gun!

Lisa Pelland has had to hire a private attorney, paying him out of her meager resources in an attempt to keep herself defended against this outrageous lawsuit. Since there is no money to be gained from Pelland, she could be dropped from the suit

Amazingly, even if Pelland is removed from the suit by the court, Barbara Lux could remain a target of the greedy grab for easy money since the insurance policy is in her name. Forget that she had nothing at all to do with the shooting. Talk about deeper pocket jurisprudence!

You can do something to say �no� to this kind of malicious litigation by sending a contribution to the Gun Owners Foundation and writing in the memo line: Pelland Defense Fund. Checks can be sent to Gun Owners Foundation (or GOF), 8001 Forbes Place, Springfield, VA 22151. You can also contribute on line at

� 2004 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved

Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

GOA lobbies for the pro-gun position in Washington and is involved in firearm issues in the states. GOA's work includes providing legal assistance to those involved in lawsuits with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal firearms law enforcement agency.

Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC's Today Show, CBS' Good Morning America, CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live, Fox's Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC's Phil Donahue show and many others. He has debated Congressmen James Traficant, Jr. (D-OH), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Vice President Al Gore, among others. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country.

He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.

Pratt has held elective office in the state legislature of Virginia, serving in the House of Delegates. Pratt directs a number of other public interest organizations and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the American Institute for Cancer Research.

The GOA web site is: Pratt's weekly talk show Live Fire is archived there at:   E-Mail: [email protected]








"Lisa Pelland has had to hire a private attorney, paying him out of her meager resources in an attempt to keep herself defended against this outrageous lawsuit."