from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Texas
SMITH and HAYNES, Circuit Judges, and JUNELL, District Judge.
JUNELL, District Judge
Burdett was injured while hunting in Texas when his rifle
suddenly discharged, firing a bullet through his foot. He
sued, alleging five products liability claims and one claim
under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection
Act. The district court entered a summary judgment in favor
of Remington Arms Company, LLC and Sporting Goods Properties,
Inc. For the reasons explained below, we AFFIRM.
a hunting trip, Burdett was sitting in a friend's pickup
truck when his Remington Model 700 rifle suddenly discharged,
sending a bullet through his left foot. The rifle was
designed, manufactured, and assembled by Remington Arms
Company, LLC (Remington) and Sporting Goods Properties, Inc.
(SGPI) in Ilion, New York, where Burdett argues
the conduct causing the injury occurred. Burdett purchased
the rifle in approximately 1998 from a reseller in Georgia.
Burdett is a resident of both Texas and Georgia.
filed suit on December 22, 2015, in the Dallas division of
the Northern District of Texas. He alleged five products
liability claims, one of which fell under a Georgia statute,
and one claim under the Texas Deceptive Trade
Practices-Consumer Protection Act. Remington and SGPI filed a
motion for summary judgment. Therein, they argued
Burdett's claims were time-barred by the Texas statute of
repose, which provides that "a claimant must commence a
products liability action against a manufacturer or seller of
a product before the end of 15 years after the date of the
sale of the product by the defendant." Tex. Civ. Prac.
& Rem. Code § 16.012(b). The statute of repose
begins running when the product is first sold by the
manufacturer. The parties have been unable to provide the
date the rifle was first sold, but Burdett acknowledges that
he purchased the rifle no later than 1998.
Burdett countered that New York, rather than Texas, law
applies and thus his claims were not time barred. Unlike
Texas, New York does not have a statute of repose. See
Fargas v. Cincinnati Mach., LLC, 986 F.Supp.2d 420, 423
(S.D.N.Y. 2013). Burdett took issue with § 71.031 of the
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, arguing that it does
not apply to actions filed in federal court and is not a
choice of law provision. Section 71.031 provides:
(a) An action for damages for the death or personal injury of
a citizen of this state, of the United States, or of a
foreign country may be enforced in the courts of this state,
although the wrongful act, neglect, or default causing the
death or injury takes place in a foreign state or country,
(1) a law of the foreign state or country or of this state
gives a right to maintain an action for damages for the death
(2) the action is begun in this state within the time
provided by the laws of this state for beginning the action;
(3) for a resident of a foreign state or country, the action
is begun in this state within the time provided by the laws
of the foreign state or country in which the wrongful act,
neglect, or default took place; and
(4) in the case of a citizen of a foreign country, the
country has equal treaty rights with the United States on
behalf of its citizens.
Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 71.031(a)(1)-(4). The
district court disagreed with Burdett and held that §
71.031 is a codified choice of law provision warranting
application of Texas law and Texas's 15-year statute of
repose. The court computed the 15-year deadline by using the
date of rifle's sale in 1998. Given that Burdett
commenced the instant suit more than 15 years from the date
he purchased the ...