USA: Supreme Court allows case brought by families of victims of Sandy Hook shooting against Remington to proceed
All components of this story
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.
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.”
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.