Evan C. Zoldan[i]

Introduction

When the Court of Appeals of Indiana decided an important case about gun liability in May 2019, it got a key legal point wrong. The case, City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson,[ii]arose out of a lawsuit filed by the City of Gary, Indiana (the “City”), against Smith & Wesson and other firearms manufacturers. The City asked the court to hold the manufacturers liable for creating a public nuisance and for the negligent design, distribution, and marketing of firearms. After the City’s lawsuit was filed, the Indiana legislature passed a statute granting immunity to gun manufacturers for these types of claims. Because the lawsuit predated the statute, however, it was not clear whether the statute would affect the pending lawsuit.

During recent decades, the teaching and discussion of Evidence law have come to focus almost entirely on the topics covered by the Federal Rules of Evidence and their state equivalents. Just as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure caused teachers and scholars to focus on what they cover, the Federal Rules of Evidence have come to define our understanding of what Evidence law is about.

Any new practice involving communication can pose a challenge to established free speech law. A few such practices are of exceptional value in promoting a clearer understanding of free speech law and, crucially, of the increasingly important deficiencies of even our best free speech theories. The practice of projecting light messages onto targeted property is just such a practice.