Alaska Supreme Court may hear Rayco Sales lawsuit

Ray Coxe testifies during a civil trial in Juneau earlier this year. Coxe is owner of Rayco Sales on Old Dairy Road and has sold firearms in Juneau. Jason Coday walked out with a rifle from the shop in 2006 and shot Simone Kim two days later. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)
Ray Coxe testifies during a civil trial in Juneau earlier this year. Coxe is owner of Rayco Sales on Old Dairy Road in Juneau. Jason Coday walked out with a rifle from the shop in 2006 and shot Simone Kim two days later. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

Plaintiffs in a long-running civil suit against a former gun shop owner intend to appeal the case to the Alaska Supreme Court.

The family of Simone Kim sued Ray Coxe of Rayco Sales over the alleged sale or transfer of the firearm used to kill Kim in 2006, a Ruger .22 rifle.

In June, a jury found in favor of Coxe after a two-week trial in Juneau Superior Court. Jurors determined that convicted murderer Jason Coday was the only person liable for the shooting and he owes the Kim family $10 million for pain and suffering, lost income and punitive damages.

Coday is currently serving a 101-year prison sentence on charges related to Kim’s murder.

The lawsuit was filed in 2008 and the case already went before the Alaska Supreme Court on pre-trial issues.

Kim family attorney Mark Choate has been unavailable for comment.

In his recent notice of appeal, Choate claims the trial judge made several mistakes, including a ruling that Coxe was entitled to protections under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act even though Coxe was no longer a licensed gun dealer at the time of trial. Choate also claims that the trial judge refused to instruct jurors that a missing surveillance videotape would have shown Coxe allegedly selling or transferring the rifle to Coday, and the judge allowed the introduction of Coxe’s personal information that was allegedly irrelevant and prejudicial. Choate also writes that he was prevented from drafting a questionnaire for prospective jurors that would have provided more information about their background and biases.

“I think they have a hard road to hoe on any of those points,” said Tony Sholty, attorney for Ray Coxe.

Sholty said some of the points raised by Choate don’t even appear to be part of the same case. He expects the list will be winnowed down to the most important issues before the case is heard by the Supreme Court.

“Because of the standard that the Supreme Court applies in deciding the issues presented in the appeal and the notice of the appeal, those standards basically are difficult for the plaintiffs or the appellants to meet,” Sholty said.

It will likely be several months before the trial record is transcribed, and for both sides in the case to submit their briefs before oral arguments at the Supreme Court are scheduled.

Coxe no longer sells firearms at Rayco Sales after losing his federal firearms license earlier this year.

 

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