Friday, 22 March, 2019

Court rules Remington can be sued related to Sandy Hook shooting

Jessica Hill | AP Jessica Hill | AP
Jeannette Daniel | 15 March, 2019, 09:40

Connecticut's supreme court ruled Thursday that USA gunmaker Remington can be sued over the 2012 massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school in which one of its weapons was used.

It now "falls to a jury to decide whether the promotional schemes alleged in the present case rise to the level of illegal trade practices and whether fault for the tragedy can be laid at their feet", the state Supreme Court ruled.

The plaintiffs in CT include a survivor and relatives of nine people killed in the massacre.

Authorities say Adam Lanza murdered his mom at home, then shot and killed 20 children and six adults at the school using an AR-15-style rifle called a Bushmaster Model XM15-E2S.

The lawsuit alleges that gun manufacturer Remington glorified the AR-15 weapon and marketed it to young people, which led to 20 children and six faculty members at Sandy Hook Elementary being gunned down by Adam Lanza.

The ruling on Thursday overturned a lower court's judgment rejecting the lawsuit, which charged that Remington Outdoor Co., arms distributor Camfour, and the CT store which sold the gun used in the massacre could be held liable.

The plaintiffs argue that the gun-maker "attract [ed] buyers by extolling the militaristic and assaultive qualities of their AR-15 rifles" by "advertising that the most elite branches of the military - including Special Forces, SEALs, Green Berets, and Army Rangers - have used them". It also concluded that CUPTA lawsuits are not barred by a federal law that generally protects gun suppliers from civil liability for crimes committed with their products.

Lanza, 20, shot his way into the locked school in Newtown on December 14, 2012, and killed 20 first-graders and six educators with a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, similar to an AR-15.

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"The families' goal has always been to shed light on Remington's calculated and profit-driven strategy to expand the AR-15 market and court high-risk users, all at the expense of Americans' safety", said Josh Koshoff, a lawyer for the victims' families.

The families argued, among other things, that the rifle's manufacturer and distributor negligently allowed and encouraged civilians to use a weapon suitable only for military and law enforcement use. "Today's decision is a critical step toward achieving that goal", [attorney Josh] Koskoff added [in a statement].

Timothy Lytton, Georgia State University law professor and author of a book on gun litigation, said the decision was a setback for gun makers, which have been shielded from liability in mass shootings.

The Connecticut court rejected that theory, instead saying the families could bring their claims under the consumer protection statute.

The case was watched by gun rights supporters and gun control advocates across the country as one that could affect other cases accusing gun-makers of being responsible for mass shootings.

The Connecticut high court issued a 4-3 ruling that reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit against Remington filed by a survivor and relatives of nine people killed in the school massacre.

Families of schoolchildren gunned down in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre can sue Remington Outdoor Co, a United States court has ruled.

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