A major lawsuit alleging Walmart negligently sold ammunition that was used in a 2015 Lehigh Valley killing spree that claimed the lives of three people has cleared a significant legal hurdle.

Retail giant Walmart had sought to have the case dismissed based on a 2005 federal law – the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act – that, in most cases, bars suits against firearms dealers. However, Judge Linda Carpenter who is presiding over the case in Philadelphia, ruled recently that the plaintiffs had produced enough evidence of negligence that the claims fit within the exemptions of the federal law and, therefore, the lawsuit should proceed to the discovery phase.

The lawsuit alleges that, in the early morning of July 5, 2015, Robert Jourdain, then 20, was allowed to purchase a box of .38 caliber bullets from a Walmart in Lower Nazareth, Pa., despite being under 21 – the age required to buy the bullets. He then gave the bullets to his cousin, Todd West, who used them in a shooting spree in Allentown and Easton, Pa., killing three people.

WFMZ-TV led its broadcast with news of the judge’s ruling. Watch it below:

WFMZ-TV

Quoting legal experts, The Morning Call of Allentown reported on its front page today that the lawsuit is a rare example nationally of a case that has survived a legal challenge under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.The lawsuit was filed by Matt Casey, a founding partner of Ross Feller Casey, on behalf of the families of the three murder victims.

Casey told The Morning Call that, given the judge’s ruling “there is little doubt that a jury will be deciding this case, and the heartbroken families I represent are looking forward to that day.”

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