Rote v. Zel Custom Mfg., LLC, No. 15-3156 (6th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
A guest at Ohio social gathering, Grimm, brought a rifle and ammunition to the Sunbury house, where he assembled and invited guests to shoot. At Grimm's direction, Rote loaded the rifle; before the bolt moved into a closed-and-secured position, the round exploded and a “loud sound” was heard. Rote sustained severe damage to his right hand. The round that exploded came from a box bearing marks identifying it as being manufactured by DGFM. The allegedly defective ammunition was purchased online through a New Jersey-based company. Rote and his wife filed a negligence and products-liability suit against several defendants, including DGFM. DGFM argued that, as an instrumentality of the Republic of Argentina, it is immune from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. 1602. The district court denied its motion to dismiss, finding that the “commercial activity” exception to the Act applies. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, stating that the design and manufacture of a product constitutes a “commercial activity” under the FSIA and that a court need not find that a foreign state has minimum contacts with the United States in order to conclude that the state’s acts have a direct effect here.