Conn. Judge dismisses Sandy Hook families’ lawsuit against gunmaker, Remington; Appeal Promised
Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis dismissed the Sandy Hook families’ suit, Friday
Plaintiffs say “While the families are obviously disappointed with the judge’s decision, this is not the end of the fight. We will appeal this decision immediately and continue our work to help prevent the next Sandy Hook from happening”
State Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis granted a motion by Remington Arms to strike the lawsuit by the families of twenty children and six adults killed and a teacher who survived the attack on Dec. 14, 2012. A gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators at the school with a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle made by Remington.
The judge has dismissed the attempt by 10 Sandy Hook families to hold the gun maker, responsible in the massacre.
The families were seeking to hold Remington accountable for selling what their lawyers called a semi-automatic rifle that is too dangerous for the public because it was designed as a military killing machine.
“While the families are obviously disappointed with the judge’s decision, this is not the end of the fight. We will appeal this decision immediately and continue our work to help prevent the next Sandy Hook from happening,” Attorney Josh Koskoff said Friday afternoon.
Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis dismissed the Sandy Hook families’ suit against gunmaker, Remington, Friday
Judge Bellis had previously rejected a Remington dismissal motion in April, though the company, one of the country’s largest weapons makers, made another attempt to avoid trial going to trial this summer.
The trial was set to begin April 2018, with the intervening time used for discovery including how Remington marketed its guns.
A Connecticut judge has dismissed the lawsuit by Sandy Hook families attempt to hold a gunmaker responsible in the massacre.
The families affected by Adam Lanza’s 2012 rampage that killed 20 students and six adults in Newtown say that Remington Outdoor had marketed the military-style AR-15 rifle to civilians like the shooter.
Remington, which argues that it did not actually sell the gun to the 20-year-old, has repeatedly asked for the suit, one of the country’s highest profile cases against gun manufacturers, to be dismissed.
The judge granted the manufacturer’s motion on Friday, saying that the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act prevents gun makers being held responsible.
The law, signed by George W. Bush in 2005, says that the companies cannot be sued for harm caused by others as long as “the product functioned as designed and intended.”
The Sandy Hook families had said that exceptions to the law, based on a manufacturer’s negligence or violating of state law, applied to their case, which also included other defendants such as gun distributor Camfour and the store where Nancy Lanza bought the gun used in the shooting.
Jimmy and Nelba Marquez-Greene, the parents of Ana Marquez-Greene a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting at a 2013 press conference
The judge said in her decision Friday that Congress’s vision for the 2005 act was to limit responsibility to only those parties that gave the gun to the person who committed harm.
Besides Remington, other defendants in the lawsuit include firearms distributor Camfour and Riverview Gun Sales, the now-closed East Windsor store where the Newtown gunman’s mother legally bought the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle used in the shooting.
Adam Lanza, 20, shot his mother to death at their Newtown home before driving to the school, where he killed 26 other people. He killed himself as police arrived.
Mass killer – Adam Lanza killed 27 people. His main weapon was the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle
The families of 10 victims of the Sandy Hook shooting filed the lawsuit in January 2015 against the Remington Outdoor Co., the maker of the Bushmaster rifle used by Adam Lanza.
The lawsuit also named Camfour Holding LLC, the gun’s distributor and Riverview Sales, the store where Nancy Lanza, Adam’s mother, bought the AR-15. Bellis dismissed the lawsuit against all of the companies. Riverview Sales, which was located in East Windsor, has since closed by federal authorities for other violations.
The judge made it clear that the families’ claims that the gun company should be held liable for Adam Lanza’s actions did not meet the narrow exceptions the federal law allows.”Although PLCAA provides a narrow exception under which plaintiffs may maintain an acti
on for negligent entrustment of a firearm, the allegations in the present case do not fit within the common-law tort of negligent entrustment under well-established Connecticut law, nor do they come within PLCAA’s definition of negligent entrustment,” Bellis wrote.
“Furthermore, the plaintiffs cannot avail themselves of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) to bring this action within PLCAA’s exception allowing lawsuits for violation of a state statute applicable to the sale or marketing of firearms. A plaintiff under CUTPA must allege some kind of consumer, competitor, or other commercial relationship with a defendant, and the plaintiffs here have alleged no such relationship,” the judge wrote.
On CUTPA, the court accepted the defendants’ argument that a plaintiff must have had a business relationship with the business in order to bring a claim – and the plaintiffs here didn’t.
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