What is this lawsuit about?

Franklin Armory, Inc. designed, developed, and began the manufacture of a series of firearms called the "Title I" that, before August 6, 2020, was legal to transfer, possess, and own in California, but are neither "rifles," "shotguns," or "pistols" as the state defines those terms. Before August 6, 2020, Franklin Armory lawfully took preorders from buyers across the state who were interested in obtaining a Title 1 firearm as soon as they became available. Thousands of Californians put deposits down for the purchase of one or more centerfire Title 1 firearms but they could not take possession of those firearms because the California Department of Justice ("DOJ") refused to process the lawful transfers of those firearms, as it statutorily mandated to do, waiting to correct known deficiencies in its systems until well after it had successfully worked with the legislature to pass Senate Bill 118, which effectively designated Franklin Armory's centerfire Title 1 firearm as an "assault weapon" in California.

This class action lawsuit, to which you may be an unnamed party if you made a deposit for the purchase of one or more centerfire Franklin Armory Title 1 firearms before August 6, 2020, challenges the DOJ's unlawful ban on the transfer of your Franklin Armory Title 1 firearm(s) to you. The complaint alleges that the government defendants violated the rights of Franklin Armory's intended customers under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments. And it seeks a judgment declaring that DOJ's conduct was unconstitutional and ordering Defendants to allow you to finalize the lawful transfer of your centerfire Title 1 firearm(s), if you still wish to do so, and to register it as required by Senate Bill 118 notwithstanding the fact that you did not possess the firearm before September 1, 2020. This relief, if we obtain it however, is potentially years down the road.


Isn't there already a case addressing the Title 1 issue? Why two cases?
Yes. A lawsuit has been filed and is pending in state court challenging the lawfulness of the technological barriers put in place by the DOJ that bar the transfer of Franklin Armory, Inc. "Title 1" style firearms. The plaintiffs in that lawsuit are the manufacturer, Franklin Armory, Inc., and the California Rifle and Pistol Association, on behalf of its members. But, given the sheer volume of persons who have been affected by the DOJ's actions and/or inaction--an action directly on behalf of those individuals barred from acquiring their firearms allows the potential purchasers to seek relief in federal court, including those who are not members of the California Rifle and Pistol Association.

Is this lawsuit a "mass action" or a "class action"?
This lawsuit was filed as a class action on November 17, 2021.

I placed a deposit on a Franklin Armory, Inc. "Title 1." Am I automatically a part of this lawsuit?
Maybe. When this case was initially announced in July 2020, if you placed a deposit on a Franklin Armory, Inc. "Title 1" firearm, you were asked to become part of a "mass action" lawsuit, which required you to actively opt in, qualify to be a represented party, and sign a representation agreement to join. But, as deposit payors were soon notified, this case would later be filed as a "class action" lawsuit. You are automatically part of the proposed class of persons represented in the class action if you are a California resident who placed a deposit for the purchase of one or more Franklin Armory, Inc. "Title 1" firearms before August 6, 2020, and are not prohibited from owning or possessing firearms. The lawsuit was filed on November 17, 2021, and the federal court will have to approve the proposed class before all members are officially part of this suit. If the court approves the class, you will automatically be part of the lawsuit unless you "opt out."

If you wish to opt out of representation in the class or believe you no longer qualify for membership in the class, please contact us.

I signed an engagement agreement to participate in this lawsuit in Summer 2020. What is the status of my relationship with the lawyers litigating the Title 1 class action? Am I still part of the lawsuit?

You might recall that when the Title 1 lawsuit site first launched in late July 2020, the case was anticipated to be a "mass action," requiring individual plaintiff participation from every person impacted by the DOJ's illegal conduct who sought relief through the lawsuit. Part of this process required you to sign an engagement agreement to serve as an individually named plaintiff and to enter into an official attorney-client relationship with Michel & Associates, PC. In late August 2020, however, we notified all prospective "mass action" clients via email that our legal team decided it would be best to litigate the matter as a "class" action and we terminated our individual representation of all those who signed the engagement agreement.

The class action is, in many ways, more efficient and simpler for all members of the potential "class," of which you are automatically a member by virtue of making a Title 1 deposit. The "class" action avenue does not require you to sign the MAPC engagement agreement or to actively participate in the lawsuit, unless you are a named class representative. Even so, if you choose to remain part of the class, as opposed to "opting out" and seeking independent representation, you will benefit from any relief we obtain on behalf of the class, just as you would if you were an individually named plaintiff. 


I never signed the engagement agreement sent to me in Summer 2020. Can I still take part in this lawsuit?
Yes. You might recall that when the Title 1 lawsuit site first launched in late July 2020, the case was anticipated to be a "mass action," requiring individual plaintiff participation from every person impacted by the DOJ's illegal conduct who sought relief through the lawsuit. You might also remember that part of this process required you to sign an engagement agreement to serve as an individually named plaintiff and to enter into an official attorney-client relationship with Michel & Associates, PC. If you forgot to sign that agreement or declined to do so for any reason, don't worry!

In late August 2020, we notified all prospective "mass action" clients via email that our legal team decided it would be best to litigate the matter as a "class" action, which is in many ways more efficient and simpler for all members of the potential "class," of which you are automatically a member by virtue of making a Title 1 deposit. The "class" action avenue does not require you to sign the MAPC engagement agreement or to actively participate in the lawsuit, unless you are a named class representative. Even so, if you choose to remain part of the class, as opposed to "opting out" and seeking independent representation, you will benefit from any relief we obtain on behalf of the class, just as you would if you were an individually named plaintiff.

I am no longer interested in finalizing the transfer of my Franklin Armory "Title 1" firearm. What should I do?
If you are no longer interested in finalizing the transfer of the Title 1 firearm for which you made a deposit, you are no longer considered part of the proposed class. Please notify us by phone or email so that we may remove you from class-related communications. Thank you for your support of Franklin Armory and this lawsuit. 

I no longer live in California. Am I still part of this lawsuit?
Sadly, no. The class includes only California residents who are not prohibited from owning or possessing firearms and made a deposit for the purchase of one or more centerfire Title 1 firearms. But good news! Anywhere else, you probably won't have many of the issues California residents are facing as regards these sorts of firearms.

At your convenience, please notify us of your change of residency so we may remove you from the class and from future case-related communications. 

Will I get a money award if I participate in this lawsuit?
No. While nominal money damages may be pursued, the purpose of this case is to hold the DOJ accountable for their unconstitutional actions in preventing the sale of lawful firearms to those who are entitled to receive and possess firearms under the law and to have the DROS Entry System properly configured such that all lawful firearms, including the "Title 1" style firearms manufactured by Franklin Armory, Inc., can be lawfully transferred under California law. The primary relief we are seeking includes a declaration that the DOJ's conduct violated your constitutional rights and an injunction ordering the DOJ to allow you to complete the transfer of your centerfire Franklin Armory Title 1, if you still wish to do so, and to register it as now required by state law.

Will I be on the hook for attorney's fees or other litigation costs?
No. Class members have no liability for any expeneses relating to the lawsuit, including attorney's fees, filing fees, and other litigation costs. The Firm, and any third party assisting in financing this litigation, shall bear all responsibility for costs and fees and other expenditures associated with prosecuting this case.