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.

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Article
16 November 2016

USA: Plaintiffs in Sandy Hook school shooting case against gun makers appeal dismissal of claims

Author: Dave Altimari, Hartford Courant (USA)

"Sandy Hook Families Appeal Dismissal Of Gun Lawsuit", 16 Nov 2016

The families of some of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims Tuesday appealed a Superior Court judge's ruling dismissing their lawsuit against the manufacturer of the gun used in shooting.  The appeal was filed in Appellate Court, but the plaintiffs are requesting the case to be heard by the state Supreme Court..."The Supreme Court not only sets precedent but also reviews the applicability and relevance of prior decisions..."...The judge made it clear the families' claims that the gun company should be held liable...did not meet the narrow exceptions the federal law allows...The judge also ruled that the plaintiffs could not win under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA)...The families' appeal..."asks the Supreme Court to consider the scope of the common law of negligent entrustment in Connecticut and its application to circumstances and technology that could not have been contemplated when the cause of action was first recognized."...The families argue that the meaning of certain language in CUTPA must be determined by the Supreme Court...

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Article
4 November 2016

USA: Plaintiffs in Sandy Hook shooting lawsuit against gun manufacturer to appeal court's rejection of claim

Author: Brad Durrell, Fairfield Sun (USA)

"Sandy Hook attorney promises appeal", 28 Oct 2016

The attorney representing Sandy Hook families against gun-maker Remington promised to appeal a recent state court decision rejecting their lawsuit...Koskoff said the families involved in the lawsuit remain resolute in their pursuit of justice, and he expects to file an appeal within 20 days.  In the ruling, the judge cited a federal law that gives gun manufacturers immunity from liability lawsuits.  Koskoff was highly critical of the profits made by gun companies...He said he became “really mad” as he studied the federal law...claiming the 2005 statute makes it virtually impossible to sue a gun maker...

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Article
17 October 2016

USA: Judge rules that families cannot hold gun company liable for Sandy Hook shooting

Author: Lois Beckett, Guardian (USA)

"Sandy Hook families cannot hold gun company liable in massacre, judge rules", 15 Oct 2016

A Connecticut judge ruled on Friday that a group of families cannot hold gun companies liable for manufacturing, distributing or selling the AR-15-style rifle used to kill 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook elementary school in 2012.  The gun companies are protected by a 2005 federal law designed to shield gun companies from liability when their products are misused by criminals, Connecticut superior court judge Barbara Bellis ruled, granting the gun companies’ motion to strike the case...Gun rights advocates and gun companies say the law, which protects gun companies from liability “for the harm purely caused by criminal or unlawful use of firearm products”, is common sense...The defendants in the lawsuit include Bushmaster, the company that made the rifle; Camfour, a firearms distributor; and Riverview Gun Sales, the store where the gun was bought...To get around the shield law, lawyers for the Sandy Hook families had tried to argue that the manufacturer, distributor and dealer were all “negligent” to market and sell powerful military-style weapons to civilians.  The Connecticut judge rejected this argument...“Remington is pleased with the court’s decision today to strike the plaintiff’s complaint”...

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Article
14 October 2016

Soto et al. v. Bushmaster et al. Decision on motions to strike

Author: Superior court of the judicial district of Fairfield at Bridgeport (USA)

[full text of the decision]

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Article
15 June 2016

USA: Lawsuit against maker & sellers of assault rifle used in Sandy Hook shooting seeks to challenge legislative immunity

Author: Kristin Hussey & Lisa W. Foderaro, New York Times (USA)

"Surprising Progress in Newtown Families' Suit Against Maker of the AR-15 Rifle", 14 Jun 2016

For two years, a group of families in Newtown, Conn., quietly laid the groundwork for a legal case against the maker and sellers of the assault rifle that on Dec. 14, 2012, claimed 26 lives…

The legal challenge faces long odds, and a key hearing next week will determine its future. But the lawsuit has already progressed further than many had expected — a Connecticut judge has set a trial date and has ordered the defendants to turn over documents…

The lawsuit seeks to overcome the broad immunity given to gun makers and sellers under a 2005 federal law, protecting them from liability when guns are used in a crime. But there is a small window for holding companies accountable, including instances of so-called negligent entrustment, in which a gun is carelessly given or sold to a person posing a high risk of misusing it.

The 10 Newtown plaintiffs argue that the AR-15 is a weapon of war — its cousin, the M-16, was the rifle of choice in Vietnam — and therefore should never have been marketed to civilians…

The defendants [the manufacturer, Remington; the wholesaler; and a local retailer] have been vigorously seeking to have the lawsuit thrown out…

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Article
14 April 2016

Sandy Hook Families’ Lawsuit Against Gun Companies Clears Big Hurdle

Author: Christina Wilkie, Huffington Post (USA)

Families who lost loved ones in the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre can proceed with their wrongful-death lawsuit against Bushmaster Firearms International, manufacturer of the AR-15 rifle used to kill 20 children and six adults, a Connecticut Superior Court judge ruled on Thursday. 

…Judge Barbara Bellis rejected arguments made by Bushmaster, a division of Remington Arms, and its co-defendants, who sought to have the lawsuit dismissed. 

Bushmaster argued immunity from liability under a U.S. law designed to shield gunmakers from lawsuits when their products are used to commit crimes…

Bellis did not directly address the immunity question. Instead, she rejected Bushmaster’s claim that because the law is federal, not state, the state Superior Court didn’t have jurisdiction over the case…

The judge’s ruling, if it withstands appeals, could open the door for future challenges to liability immunity for gunmakers and sellers.

The Sandy Hook families contend Bushmaster, its parent companies, the gun distributor and the retailer that sold the rifle are liable for supplying a weapon unfit for civilian use…

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Article
14 April 2016

Soto et al. v. Bushmaster et al. Decision on motions to dismiss

Author: Superior court of the judicial district of Fairfield at Bridgeport (USA)

[full text of the decision]

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Article
22 February 2016

Sandy Hook relatives sue maker of assault rifle 'engineered to deliver maximum carnage'

Author: Andrew Buncombe, Independent (UK)

Relatives of some of the 26 adults and children killed in the Sandy Hook massacre have asked a judge to hold responsible the maker of the military assault used in the attack. In a case that could have huge ramifications, a lawsuit brought by the families of ten of those who were killed at a Connecticut primary school in December 2012, has claimed that Remington Outdoor Co, maker of the AR-15 assault weapon, made and sold a military-style weapon without regard for the “unreasonable and egregious risk of physical injury to others.”… Representatives from Remington, the distributor Camfour Inc, and the East Windsor gun shop that sold the rifle…are expected to argue that the lawsuit is thwarted by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The 2005 federal law protects gun makers from lawsuits attempting to hold them responsible for crimes committed with their products… 

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Article
22 February 2016

Why Sandy Hook parents are suing a gun-maker

Author: Chris Welch & Deborah Feyerick, CNN (USA)

On December 14, 2012, [Jackie] Barden's youngest son, Daniel, and [David] Wheeler's son, Ben, were among those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  Wheeler and Barden are part of a potentially precedent-setting lawsuit seeking accountability from gun-maker Remington…The case has the potential to make history if it goes to trial. A 2005 federal law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, grants gun manufacturers immunity from any lawsuit related to injuries that result from criminal misuse of their product -- in this case the AR-15 rifle…One exception to the immunity legislation is what's called "negligent entrustment."… "Remington took a weapon that was made to the specs of the U.S. military for the purpose of killing enemy soldiers in combat…,"…the attorney for the families said. "They took that same weapon and started peddling it to the civilian market…" Remington declined to comment, but in its request to dismiss the suit, the company argued that the 2005 legislation provides it "complete immunity."

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Article
15 December 2014

Sandy Hook Families Blame Bushmaster in Suit for Shooting

Author: Phil Milford and Chris Dolmetsch, Bloomberg

The maker of the military assault rifle used to kill dozens at a Connecticut elementary school was sued almost exactly two years later by the families of 20 first-grade students who died in the mass shooting.

The Bushmaster Firearms International LLC rifle used by Adam Lanza in the Dec. 14, 2012, attack was specifically engineered for the U.S. military to kill in combat and wasn’t designed for home defense or hunting use, Josh Koskoff, a lawyer for the families, said today in a statement. Bushmaster is a unit of Cerberus Capital Management LP’s Remington Arms Co...

Teddy Novin, a spokesman for Madison, North Carolina-based Remington, said the company won’t comment on pending litigation...

 

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