Rory Gellatly v. John “Dirtbag” Doe

Rory was a Professional Hunter working in Zambia as a guide for safari hunter clients. Dirtbag was a client who designed and manufactured a novel style of bolt action rifle. He invited Rory to fire it. The barrel burst, tearing Rory’s right hand (he shot left handed) apart. Rory barely survived evacuation from Zambia (with his right hand sewn inside his abdomen) to South Africa.

After many surgeries in South Africa, Rory emerged with two of his toes attached to the stub of his right hand and could only barely shake hands better than a dog offering a paw. Rory had dual South African and Canadian citizenship and was finally able to bring suit in Canada.

Rory’s Canadian attorney approached myself and I took the case. In examining the evidence, it was obvious that the rifle was defective in design and manufacture. This was most glaring because Dirtbag was a manufacturer of automotive and other metal parts. He apparently did know about metallurgy, maintenance of manufacturing drawings, and all sorts of other issues which were glaringly absent here. Dirtbag was very wealthy, was a donor to Safari Club International, and did his best to destroy Rory, rather than pay just compensation.

I submitted a report to Rory’s attorney and was prepared to travel to Canada to testify. After some months, the defense settled. When Rory’s attorney called to notify me, I asked why. She replied that the opposing attorney told her, “We could not find anyone willing to contradict Col. Alphin’s opinion.”.
Score one for Rory; he is back to work and Dirtbag is still a shaker and mover in SCI (and shall therefore remain anonymous).