Can I sue a national retail chain for selling my 15 year old a hunting knife?

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Can I sue a national retail chain for selling my 15 year old a hunting knife?

Asked on December 11, 2014 under Business Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No. There is no lawsuit simply for selling an item, even one that is age-restricted (e.g. alcohol; tobacco) or otherwise restricted, and which the buyer should not have received. Lawsuits are to provide compensation for injuries caused by negligent (unreasonably careless) behavior when the negligent behavior is the direct cause of the harm. So selling an 15-year-old a knife, by itself, does not create liability; and even if your 15-year-old then hurt him/herself or another, the store would still not be liable, because it was not the sale of the knife that caused the injury, but rather the 15-year-old's actions (i.e. the causal link from the sale of the knife would be broken by the supervening action of the 15-year-old...that is, what he or she did with the knife).


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