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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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24 April 2017

USA: Academics file brief in support of appeal of Sandy Hook families in lawsuit against gun makers

Author: Robert Storace, Connecticut Law Tribune (USA)

"Law Profs Say Gun Makers Should Be Liable for Sandy Hook Shooting", 19 Apr 2017 [subscription required]

Thirteen law professors who specialize in common-law torts have thrown their weight behind a negligent entrustment appeal lodged against the makers of the AR-15 rifle used in the Sandy Hook school shooting. Their 35-page amicus brief...focuses on how negligent entrustment should apply to Remington and Bushmaster Firearms...The brief was submitted in an appeal to the state Supreme Court...Attorneys for the [affected] families claim Remington, which sold the Bushmaster AR-15 used by Adam Lanza, knew or should have known the weapon was meant for war but was going to untrained civilians...Lanza fired 154 bullets in [5 minutes], killing more than two dozen people and injuring several others...

[also refers to Camfour Holding LLP, Riverview Sales]

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1 March 2017

Sandy Hook Parents File 1st Argument To Supreme Court In Gun Lawsuit Case

Author: Dave Altimari, Hartford Courant (USA)

Attorneys for families of some of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims have filed their first legal brief, seeking to have the state Supreme Court reinstate a lawsuit against gunmaker Remington Arms Co...[A]ttorney Josh Koskoff highlights the families' contention that Remington knowingly marketed a military weapon to a high-risk class of young males fascinated with violent video games, knowing before the 2012 school shooting that the AR-15 had become the weapon of choice for mass shooters..."Plaintiffs allege that Adam was a devoted player of first-person shooter games and partial to the AR-15 for committing virtual violence..."...The lawsuit also named Camfour Holding LLP, the gun's distributor, and Riverview Gun Sales, Inc., the East Windsor gun shop where Nancy Lanza, Adam's mother, bought the AR-15.

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25 January 2017

USA: Appellate court will have to innovate to overrule dismissal of Sandy Hook lawsuit against gun makers, legal experts say

Author: Robert Storace, Copyright Connecticut Law Journal (USA)

"Sandy Hook Plaintiffs’ Path to Trial Seen as Uphill", 23 Jan 2017

As the Connecticut Supreme Court is expected to begin later this year to hear an appeal from several families whose loved ones were killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre..., legal experts...say the plaintiffs have a long, uphill battle.  The primary hurdle can only be cleared if the state’s high court rules that gun manufacturers bear responsibility under the theory of “negligent entrustment.”  Such a ruling would require the court to overrule Fairfield District Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis...Many legal experts...say many factors will need to fall into place in this first-impression case facing the high court for plaintiffs to prevail...Sachin S. Pandya, professor of law at the University of Connecticut Law School in Hartford, said the plaintiffs attorney...“are using negligent entrustment in a nontypical fashion. They are asking the court to innovate.”...If the plaintiffs are to win in the Connecticut Supreme Court, the court will not have to only overrule Bellis and find negligent entrustment applicable, but must also square such a finding with...a federal law passed in 2005...

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6 December 2016

USA: Connecticut Supreme Court to hear Sandy Hook families' appeal in lawsuit against gun makers

Author: Michele Gorman, Newsweek (US)

"Connecticut Supreme Court will hear Sandy Hook families’ appeal against gun companies", 1 Dec 2016

The Connecticut Supreme Court will hear an appeal from 10 families affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in their lawsuit against the maker and sellers of the weapon used in the December 2012 tragedy. The decision on Thursday comes about two weeks after nine families and a survivor filed their appeal against a judge’s dismissal of the case—and 13 days before the four-year anniversary of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut...Nine families and a survivor argue that the sale of the military-style rifle used in the mass shooting violated Connecticut law. The suit alleges that three gun companies negligently entrusted the rifle to the public and violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act in marketing it to civilians.  Adam Lanza used the weapon to shoot his way into the school and kill 20 first-graders and six educators in less than five minutes on December 14, 2012.  In its decision to hear the case, the court accepted the families’ argument that the meaning of certain language in the state law must be determined by the high court...

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