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Gun industry lawsuit (re Sandy Hook shooting in USA)

In February 2014, relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting filed a lawsuit in the US against the gun manufacturer Bushmaster Firearms, the distributor Camfour Inc, and the East Windsor gun shop that sold the assault rifle.  In April 2016, a judge ruled that the case could proceed, rejecting the defendants' motions to dismiss. In October 2016, the Connecticut superior court dismissed the case based on the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, ruling that the companies could not be held liable for harm caused solely by the criminal misuse of a weapon.

In March 2017, the victims' families filed a brief in the state Supreme Court seeking to reinstate their lawsuit against the gun manufacturer. In May 2017, the gun manufacturers asked the Connecticut Supreme Court to dismiss the case.  They argued that only the shop that sold the gun could face a negligent entrustment suit but that it would not be successful as the shop followed the law in selling the gun. In March 2019, the Connecticut Supreme Court revived the lawsuit, saying that the families could sue for wrongful marketing under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. In April 2019, Remington asked the US Supreme court to hear the case and decide if gun manufacturers should be held accountable for crimes committed with their products.

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Article
12 November 2019

Supreme Court Allows Sandy Hook Families' Case Against Remington Arms To Proceed

Author: Bill Chappell, NPR

The Supreme Court has denied Remington Arms Co.'s bid to block a lawsuit filed by families of victims of the Sandy Hook school massacre. The families say Remington should be held liable, as the maker and promoter of the AR-15-style rifle used in the 2012 killings.

...The justices did not include any comment about the case, Remington Arms Co. v. Soto, as they turned it away.

Remington had appealed to the highest federal court after the Connecticut Supreme Court allowed the Sandy Hook lawsuit to proceed in March. In recent court filings, Remington says the case "presents a nationally important question" about U.S. gun laws — namely, how to interpret the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which grants broad immunity to gun-makers and dealers from prosecution over crimes committed with their products.

 

Remington manufactured the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle that Adam Lanza used on Dec. 14, 2012, to kill 20 first-graders and six adults at the elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

The families first filed their lawsuit in December 2014, saying the Bushmaster rifle never should have been sold to the public because it is a military-style weapon. They accuse Remington of violating Connecticut's unfair trade practices law when it "knowingly marketed and promoted the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle for use in assaults against human beings."...

In March, the Connecticut Supreme Court breathed new life into the families' lawsuit when it ruled they can sue Remington for marketing a military-style weapon to civilians.

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Article
12 November 2019

Supreme Court lets Sandy Hook shooting lawsuit go forward

Author: Mark Sherman & Dave Collins, Associated Press

The Supreme Court said Tuesday that a survivor and relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting can pursue their lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used to kill 26 people...

The lawsuit says the Madison, North Carolina-based company should never have sold a weapon as dangerous as the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle to the general public. It also alleges Remington targeted younger, at-risk males in marketing and product placement in violent video games. Opponents of the suit contend that gunman Adam Lanza alone is responsible for killing 20 first graders and six educators. He was 20 years old...

A leading gun industry group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which happens to be based in Newtown, said it was disappointed the Supreme Court declined to review the case but is confident Remington will win in the trial court.

“Nothing in Remington’s advertising of these products connotes or encourages the illegal or negligent misuse of firearms,” the group said in a statement. “We continue to feel sympathy toward the Sandy Hook victims, as NSSF is headquartered in Newtown, but Adam Lanza alone is responsible for his heinous actions.”...

Democratic lawmakers from Connecticut, including Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Rep. Jahana Hayes, said in a statement that the 2005 federal law needs to be repealed.

“For years, gun manufacturers have been allowed to operate with near-blanket immunity — producing weapons of war and marketing them to the masses with zero accountability,” they said. “This critical victory reinforces the need for Congress to pass legislation repealing the gun industry’s sweetheart immunity deal and unlocking the doors to justice for all victims of gun violence.”

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Article
12 November 2019

Supreme Court Says Sandy Hook Families Can Sue the Remington Gun Maker

Author: Melissa Chan, TIME

In a major blow to the firearms industry, the U.S. Supreme Court will not block the families of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting from suing the gun maker Remington.

The nation’s highest court on Tuesday denied an appeal by the Remington Arms Company to review a lower court’s ruling that allowed the families to take on the gun maker in court over how it marketed the rifle used in the 2012 school massacre.

“This simply means that the case can proceed under Connecticut state law, and it doesn’t mean that the plaintiffs will prevail,” says Robert Spitzer, a gun policy expert and chairman of the political science department at the State University of New York at Cortland.

But Spitzer and other experts say Remington could be forced to provide documents that could yield damaging internal memos—similar to the way a major civil settlement in 1998 forced the tobacco industry to disclose millions of pages of internal communications that revealed deceptive marketing practices...

The National Rifle Association (NRA) said perpetrators of shootings who misuse firearms are the “real problem,” not gun manufacturers. “Lawsuits that deflect attention away from mental illness and criminals in order to blame inanimate objects won’t reduce violent crime or make anyone safer,” Jason Ouimet, the executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement.

 

 

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Article
11 September 2019

USA: States and politicians file briefs to support gun-maker Remington in Sandy Hook case

Author: Associated Press, NBS news (USA)

"Republican politicians, states join NRA in backing gun-maker in Sandy Hook case", 5 Sep 2019

Ten states and nearly two dozen members of Congress are joining the National Rifle Association in supporting gun-maker Remington Arms as it fights a Connecticut court ruling involving liability for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Officials in the 10 conservative states, 22 House Republicans and the NRA are among groups that filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday and Wednesday. They urged justices to overturn the Connecticut decision, citing a much-debated 2005 federal law that shields gun makers from liability, in most cases, when their products are used in crimes...

Remington, based in Madison, North Carolina, made the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used to kill 20 first graders and six educators at the Newtown, Connecticut, school on Dec. 14, 2012.

A survivor and relatives of nine victims of the massacre filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Remington in 2015, saying the company should have never sold such a dangerous weapon to the public and alleging it targeted younger, at-risk males in its marketing and through product placement in violent video games...

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Article
14 August 2019

Commentary: Two Potential Strikes Against the Second Amendment

Author: Elad Hakim, The Epoch Times (USA)

"Two Potential Strikes Against the Second Amendment", 13 Aug 2019

The recent tragedies in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, have once again brought the Second Amendment and gun laws into the spotlight...It’s clear that something must be done to try to prevent, to the extent possible, such tragedies from occurring.

Republicans and Democrats, as expected, have different opinions about how to best accomplish this. While they continue to debate how to best reduce (and hopefully eliminate) gun violence, the Second Amendment faces two potential “strikes” against it. The first is President Donald Trump’s proposed “red flag” laws, while the second is a case that the Supreme Court has been asked to consider...

Red Flag Laws

After the recent and horrific shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Trump indicated that he would consider red flag laws with regard to firearms (some states also have such laws).

As reported by The New York Times: Red flag laws “are state laws that authorize courts to issue a special type of protection order, allowing the police to temporarily confiscate firearms from people who are deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or to others.

Remington Case

Remington Arms Co. was sued by several families of the Sandy Hook massacre over the way the company marketed the weapon that was used in the shooting. Remington appealed the Connecticut Supreme Court’s decision, arguing, in part, that the lawsuit was improper in light of a 2005 law—the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act—which immunizes gun manufacturers and dealers “from the vast majority of lawsuits that could be brought as a result of crimes committed with their firearms,” according to Politico.

Article
5 August 2019

USA: Gun manufacturer Remington asks Supreme Court to hear its appeal in Sandy Hook shooting wrongful death lawsuit

Author: Associated Press

"Maker of rifle used in Sandy Hook school shooting asks Supreme Court to hear appeal", 2 Aug 2019

The maker of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal Thursday of a state ruling against the company.

Remington Arms, based in Madison, North Carolina, cited a much-debated 2005 federal law that shields firearms manufacturers from liability in most cases when their products are used in crimes.

Gunman Adam Lanza opened fire at the Newtown, Connecticut, school with a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle on Dec. 14, 2012, killing 20 first graders and six educators...The rifle was legally owned by his mother.

A survivor and relatives of nine victims filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Remington in 2015, saying the company should have never sold such a dangerous weapon to the public and alleging it targeted younger, at-risk males in marketing and product placement in violent video games.

Citing one of the few exemptions in the federal law, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in March that Remington, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018 while under the ownership of the private-equity firm Cerberus, could be sued under state law over how it marketed the rifle to the public. The decision overturned a ruling by a trial court judge who dismissed the lawsuit...

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Article
12 April 2019

USA: Gun manufacturer Remington to appeal to US Supreme Court re ruling for wrongful death lawsuit in Sandy Hook shooting

Author: Dave Collins, Associated Press, ABC News (USA)

"Gun-maker to ask Supreme Court to hear Sandy Hook appeal", 9 Apr 2019

Facing a newly revived wrongful death lawsuit in Connecticut over the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, gun-maker Remington is going to the U.S. Supreme Court to argue it can't be sued because of a much-debated federal law that shields firearms manufacturers from liability in most cases...

The Connecticut Supreme Court issued a 4-3 ruling last month saying the Madison, North Carolina-based company can be sued under state law for how it marketed the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used to kill 20 first-graders and six educators at the Newtown school in 2012. The decision reinstated part of a lawsuit by some of the victims' families that had been completely dismissed by a lower court judge...

Remington's lawyers have notified the Connecticut high court that they intend to ask the nation's highest court to hear the company's appeal of last month's decision, according to a motion filed with the state court Friday. The company has until June to file papers with the U.S. Supreme Court...

Lawyers for Remington, Scott Harrington and James Vogts, wrote in the recent motion that the Connecticut high court "recognized that guidance from the Supreme Court is needed by acknowledging that congressional intent to protect firearm manufacturers from litigation is not clear, and it is 'possible that Congress intended to broadly immunize firearm sellers from liability' for the conduct that Plaintiffs have alleged."...

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Article
15 March 2019

USA: Connecticut Supreme Court says lawsuit by families of Sandy Hook victims against gun manufacturer Remington can go ahead

Author: Chris Dolmetsch, Erik Larson & Polly Mosendz, Bloomberg

"Gun Industry Dealt Blow as Court Says Sandy Hook Parents Can Sue Remington", 14 Mar 2019

The gun industry suffered a stinging setback as Connecticut’s top court said families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre could move ahead with their lawsuit against Remington Arms Co. over its marketing of military-style Bushmaster weapons.

In a first-of-its-kind decision, the state Supreme Court said the families could sue for "wrongful" marketing under a state unfair-trade-practice law. The court, reinstating a suit dismissed by a trial judge in 2016, adopted the families’ novel way around a federal law that protects the gun industry from liability...

"While all this decision does is allow a case to go forward, in broader terms it really opens up a new avenue for holding gunmakers responsible." [declared Adam Winkler, a UCLA Law School professor]

The company had argued that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA, bars lawsuits holding gun companies responsible for crimes committed with their products.

Remington declined to comment...

The split decision, with three of seven justices in dissent, isn’t a final victory for the Sandy Hook families, as the case now goes back to the lower court for further proceedings and a possible trial. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Remington will ask the state court to reconsider or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court...

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Article
3 April 2018

USA: Ruling in Sandy Hook lawsuit against gun makers to be delayed due to defendant co. Remington filing for bankruptcy

Author: Kristin Hussey, Rick Rojas, New York Times (USA)

"Remington’s Bankruptcy Stalls Ruling in Sandy Hook Families’ Suit", 1 Apr 2018

The lawsuit brought by family members of those killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School has been watched closely over years of winding its way through the court system.  But a new hurdle stands in the way of a much-awaited ruling.  Remington,...a defendant in the lawsuit, recently filed for bankruptcy as its sales have declined and debts have mounted...The case is now before the Connecticut Supreme Court, where families brought an appeal with the aim of bringing the case to a jury trial.  Remington’s bankruptcy does not guard the company from potential liability, but it has stalled the court from issuing a ruling on the lawsuit until the company emerges from the process...The families’ lawyers contend that the bankruptcy will ultimately have little influence on the case’s viability.  “The bankruptcy proceeding doesn’t affect our claim,” said Katie Mesner-Hage, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs...“The only thing the process does is delay it to some degree.”...Remington will remain in business as it reorganizes and unloads hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, according to court records.  The process could be expedited because the company is using a so-called prepackaged bankruptcy, which could be completed as early as May.  Remington’s lawyers did not respond to messages seeking comment...

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Article
23 May 2017

USA: Gun manufacturers Remington & Bushmaster ask Connecticut Supreme Court to dismiss liability lawsuit by families of Sandy Hook shooting victims

Author: Robert Storace, Connecticut Law Tribune (USA)

"Gunmakers Urge Conn. Supreme Court to Toss Sandy Hook Case", 16 May 2017 [subsctiption required]

Two gunmakers facing a liability lawsuit in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre are asking the Connecticut Supreme Court to toss out the case, largely on the same grounds they used to win a dismissal last year.

Gun manufacturers Remington and Bushmaster argued several of the victims' families have no standing under the negligent entrustment clause of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act or a separate federal law, which broadly protects manufacturers and distributors from liability suits. Remington owns Bushmaster, which made the AR-15 rifle used by Adam Lanza in the 2012 massacre...

The crux of the families' argument involves negligent entrustment and a claim that the gunmakers knew their product was dangerous, but sold it anyway...

The weapon was also legal in Connecticut when it was sold to Nancy Lanza [Adam Lanza's mother] in March 2010, and the manufacturers should not be responsible for the crimes her son committed in December 2012, according to the brief...

The families have until June 9 to file their response...

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