Jury rules in favor of gun club in lawsuit


JASPER — A civil lawsuit filed by a local resident listing the Jasper Rifle and Gun Club as its main defendant has come to a close. After nearly five years of proceedings, a jury found in favor of the gun club on all counts.

According to Herald archives, Darren Patterson of Jasper alleged that, on multiple occasions, rounds fired from the shooting ranges at 2188 E. Gun Club Road on the city’s southeast side exited the club’s property and struck Patterson’s 40-acre parcel just east of the gun club at 2297 E. Gun Club Road.

Patterson originally filed a lawsuit in January 2015. A jury decided in favor of the gun club on all counts in a verdict delivered on Dec. 13, 2019.

“The Jasper Rifle and Gun Club is pleased with the jury’s decision,” Steve Haggh, secretary of the club, said in an emailed statement. “As a club, we have always made the safety of our community, our club members, and our gun ranges top priorities.”

Patterson was not available to comment on the verdict.

The Jasper man’s lawsuit alleged that use of his adjoining real estate was hindered and dangerous because of the gun club’s negligence. He provided testimony from several witnesses — including a Jasper police officer — who claimed they’d heard rounds striking trees on Patterson’s property.

The club, however, disagreed that the operations posed any threat to Patterson, his property or those who visit there. During the proceedings, an injunction filed by Patterson was denied by then Senior Dubois Circuit Court Judge William Weikert. The injunction aimed to temporarily halt operations at the club’s ranges while the case remained open.

At that time, Weikert’s ruling to deny the injunction put the burden of proof on Patterson to provide evidence that the rounds allegedly striking his property were in fact being fired from the club’s property.

“There was no evidence that any bullet allegedly found on the Patterson property was fired from a gun on the JRGC property, as opposed to a gun fired on the Patterson property as part of the plaintiff’s and guests’ regular hunting and recreational shooting activities,” the ruling said.

The Jasper Rifle and Gun Club is a private club open for use by members or members and a guest. The facility is not open to the public. Members must be law abiding citizens and pay an individual annual membership fee.

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