Sandy Hook families can sue AR-15 gunmaker Remington, court rules

March 14, 2019

The Connecticut Supreme Court today ruled that the families of those killed in the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., would be allowed to sue Remington Arms, the manufacturer of the Bushmaster AR-15 used in the attack. In a 4-3 decision, the court reversed a ruling of the lower court, Bridgeport Superior Court, which originally dismissed a lawsuit filed by Sandy Hook families against Remington in 2015.

The lower court’s 2015 ruling rested on the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).
The law protects firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products. A one vote majority of the Connecticut Supreme Court, however, ruled that PLCAA did not shield Remington (and by extension all gun manufacturers and dealers) from being sued.

According to the Hartford Courant, the justices contend that the victims’ families are permitted to argue Remington’s alleged violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA)’

“We further conclude that PLCAA does not bar the plaintiffs from proceeding on the single, limited theory that the defendants violated CUTPA by marketing the XM15- E2S to civilians for criminal purposes, and that those wrongful marketing tactics caused or contributed to the Sandy Hook massacre,” Justice Richard Palmer wrote. “Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for further proceedings.”

“Following a scrupulous review of the text and legislative history of [the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act] we also conclude that Congress has not clearly manifested an intent to extinguish the traditional authority of our legislature and our courts to protect the people of Connecticut from the pernicious practices alleged in the present case. The regulation of advertising that threatens the public’s health, safety, and morals has long been considered a core exercise of the states’ police powers.” Justice Palmer added.

“Accordingly, on the basis of that limited theory, we conclude that the plaintiffs have pleaded allegations sufficient to survive a motion to strike and are entitled to have the opportunity to prove their wrongful marketing allegations,” Palmer concluded.

Connecticut law, the court wrote in the majority opinion, “does not permit advertisements that promote or encourage violent, criminal behavior.” While federal law does offer protection for gun manufacturers, the majority wrote, “Congress did not intend to immunize firearms suppliers who engage in truly unethical and irresponsible marketing practices promoting criminal conduct, and given that statutes such as CUTPA are the only means available to address those types of wrongs, it 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 families’ original lawsuit filed against Remington in 2015, alleged that the company manufactured and marketed a military weapon that ended up in the hands of a civilian.

Bridgeport Superior Court dismissed the lawsuit in 2016, declaring that it “falls squarely within the broad immunity” provided under the PLCAA.

“There is no need for a legal re-examination of the law,” said James Vogts, Remington’s attorney at the time. “Under the law, the manufacturer of the gun used by the criminal that day isn’t responsible legally for his actions.”

Some legal analysts now however say Remington might be held liable under the “negligent entrustment” exception in the law, which defines the “supplying of a qualified product by a seller for use by another person when the seller knows, or reasonably should know, the person to whom the product is supplied is likely to, and does, use the product in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical injury to the person or others.

Major liberal me outlets, most notably The New York Times, seem positively giddy over the prospect of suing America’s firearms manufacturers out of business.

Times reporters Rick Rojas and Kristin Hussey called today’s Connecticut court ruling a “major blow to the firearms industry on Thursday, clearing the way for a lawsuit against the companies that manufactured and sold the semiautomatic rifle used by the gunman in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.”

They continued, “The lawsuit mounted a direct challenge to the immunity that Congress granted gun companies to shield them from litigation when their weapons are used in a crime. The ruling allows the case, brought by victims’ families, to maneuver around the federal shield, creating a potential opening to bring claims to trial and hold the companies, including Remington, which made the rifle, liable for the attack.

The 4-3 majority largely upheld arguments made by lawyers for Remington that the company is protected from suit in many instances. The court ruled, however, that Congress did not intend the PLCAA to preclude state law.

Ultimately, the majority said, the plaintiffs should have the opportunity to prove that Remington violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) by marketing a military-style weapon to civilians.

A Connecticut Superior Court judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2016, agreeing with lawyers for Remington that the case falls within the “broad immunity” gun manufacturers and sellers are afforded under the PLCAA. The state Supreme Court decision, however, paves the way for the suit to continue and for lawyers to access internal documents from the firearms companies.

Lawyers for the gunmaker argued that there was no way for Remington to assess the shooter, and therefore no way they could have known what the gun would be used for.

According to the Times, the lawsuit was originally filed in 2014 by nine families of the victims and a teacher who was injured in the shooting. It names gun manufacturers and distributors Bushmaster, Remington, Camfour Holdings LLP, as well as Riverview Gun Sales Inc., the gun shop where the shooter’s mother purchased the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, and the store’s owner.

Remington Arms filed for bankruptcy in March of 2018, which effectively stalled the lawsuit. In May 2018, the company announced that it had emerged from bankruptcy.

“The decision represents a significant development in the long-running battle between gun control advocates and the gun lobby,” the Times said. “And it stands to have wider ramifications, experts said, by charting a possible legal road map for victims’ relatives and survivors from other mass shootings who want to sue gun companies.”

Edify this morning called the ruling a “high-stakes challenge to gun companies, which have rarely been held liable for crimes committed with their products, and could mark a new front in the battle over gun regulations and corporate accountability. . . An eventual ruling against Remington could establish legal precedent, opening doors for more lawsuits against gun manufacturers, and expose the company’s communications about its marketing plans.”

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action outlines the issue as follows:

On October 26, 2005, President Bush signed S. 397, the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.” Introduced by Sens. Larry Craig (R-ID) and Max Baucus (D-MT), this legislation is a vitally important first step toward ending the anti-gun lobby`s shameless attempts to bankrupt the American firearms industry through reckless lawsuits. Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced similar legislation, H.R. 800 in the House of Representatives.

•These suits are intended to drive gunmakers out of business by holding manufacturers and dealers liable for the criminal acts of third parties who are totally beyond their control. Suing the firearms industry for street crime is like suing General Motors for criminal acts involving Buicks.

•These lawsuits seek a broad range of remedies relating to product design and marketing. Their demands, if granted, would create major restrictions on interstate commerce in firearms and ammunition, including unwanted design changes, burdensome sales policies, and higher costs for consumers. While the suits are unwarranted, the firearms industry has had to spend over $200 million in defense.

•Congress has the power-and the duty-to prevent activists from abusing the courts to destroy interstate commerce.

•The bill provides that lawsuits may not be brought against manufacturers and sellers of firearms or ammunition if the suits are based on criminal or unlawful use of the product by a third party. Existing lawsuits must be dismissed.

S. 397 provides carefully tailored protections for legitimate suits:

•The bills expressly allow suits based on knowing violations of federal or state law related to gun sales, or on traditional grounds including negligent entrustment (such as sales to a child or an obviously intoxicated person) or breach of contract. The bill also allows product liability cases involving actual injuries caused by an improperly functioning firearm (as opposed to cases of intentional misuse).

•The Congress has often passed limitations on liability for specific groups, including light aircraft manufacturers, food donors, corporations affected by “Y2K” computer problems, charitable volunteers, health officials, medical implant manufacturers, and makers of anti-terrorism technology.
These lawsuits usurp the authority of the Congress and of state legislators, in a desperate attempt to enact restrictions that have been widely rejected. Thirty-four states have also enacted statutes blocking this type of litigation.

~ Grif
Molon Labe

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m walkeraskandgettruthDoctor MoebiusJomarblenecltr Recent comment authors
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Joseph BC69
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Joseph BC69

This is completely illogical and insane in my opinion. You might as well blame the maker of fly swatters for killing excessive number of flies.

Lophatt
Member
Lophatt

This is sickening. We all know that their owners have decided its time to disarm the cattle. The fact that this will happen in Connecticut is alarming. They say that the manufacture is selling these for “criminal purposes”. That’s B.S..

I won’t get into it again. We don’t need their permission and we SHOULD be asking by what right they question this. UnAmerican pieces of globalist garbage.

You’d better NEVER let them have your guns or get you in the car. Don’t forget that.

Andy
Guest
Andy

So I guess that Israeli Weapons Industry now gets all the gun business?
Apparently, people don’t know about IWI’s record sales a couple days after SandyCROOKS event, having opened their new gun store & business in PA on Dec 11, 2012.
This is how USA businesses, like Remington, are forced out of the business.
By way of Deception…we do war on and force out American businesses too.

Ron W
Guest
Ron W

Now I suppose car manufacturers, breweries and distilleries can be sued for DUI injuries and deaths. Otherwise, the anti-gunners often say, “guns fall into the wrong hands”. Notice it’s the GUNS FALLING that causes murders! Yeah sure, it was reported that the Sandy Hook perp killed his mother to supposedly make her “gun fall into his wrong hands”. This judicial reasoning is utterly insane!!

Jo Lapiana
Guest
Jo Lapiana

Hopefully Remington will stand up to this fight. Discovery will be a bitch for the Sandy Hook hoax.

DCG
Editor

“The regulation of advertising that threatens the public’s health, safety, and morals…”

Give me a freakin break. By this standard, most everything out of Hollyweird would violate the “morals” of the public.

Take it all the way to SCOTUS. Won’t hold up.

CalGirl
Guest
CalGirl

So, in comparison, my mortgage lender could be sued if my home was a homicide scene?

Zigggy
Guest
Zigggy

Can I sue Purdue Pharma for deaths related to oxycontin? That drug has lead to immeasurably more deaths than an AR-15.

Diana Firebaugh
Guest
Diana Firebaugh

If Sandy Hook was a false flag…..how the hell can they sue???

Glenn47
Guest
Glenn47

I hope Remington pushes back with everything they have. Demand proof of the deaths, and even exhumation if possible. Proof the school was even open for business since evidence proves otherwise. And bring in all the witnesses that say otherwise. Even the first responders denied access. The evidence is overwhelming. We had better pray for Remington, because if the lose with this horrible scare and threat, this country is in deep Kim chee. This is a message to all gun owners.

Kevin Lankford
Member
Kevin Lankford

I suspect this has been in the works for along, time and will be a well staged production. Witnesses will be well schooled and evidence under strict control, and screening. And most probably behind closed doors, only court approved reporting.

Dr. Eowyn
Admin

The Left are taking a page from the anti-smoking campaign. Eventually, this matter — whether gun manufacturers can be held liable for shooting deaths — will have to go before the Supreme Court. And if the ruling is in favor of gun makers being sued, then it’s the end of the Second Amendment.

TrailDust
Admin

Molon Labe

Grace
Guest
Grace

I bet Remington does cave. My brother quit buying Smith and Wesson many years ago because he felt they were getting too cozy with the federal government.

Cinderella Glass
Editor

Has it been proven beyond a doubt that the copper jacket fragments were from a Remington AR-15? It isn’t clear whether the fragments originated from a Remington.

Interesting that “families” can sue a gun manufacturer because someone reportedly used the manufacture’s gun (which hasn’t been satisfactorily proven) to commit murder; but a vaccine manufacturer cannot be sued for poisoning unwilling injectees.This is “lawfare.”

Jo
Guest
Jo

Sandy Hook is an illusion. The Connecticut Supreme Court is corrupted just like the state itself. Why didn’t the fake families sue the school. Reason: The school had been closed for years as evidenced by the photos. These horrible fake families must be stopped!

marblenecltr
Guest

If Sandy Hook were to be questioned, there would be unquestionable material to save Remington. When Wolfgang Halbig presented a discovery motion to Pozner (or is it Vabner?), the suit against WH was dropped at once. Odd, so much enthusiasm was seen in the attack against WH. Regarding the danger of automobiles: GM. Ford, Toyota, and many others could be blamed for the automobile deaths of many through infractions, including DUI, by the drivers. The advertising? NASCAR races, where speeding and aggression is a major part of the contest, always resulting in accidents, some leading to death.

Jo
Guest
Jo

Alex Jones has a new lawyer, Robert Barnes, https://twitter.com/Barnes_Law. Don’t forget Wolfgang Halbig is co-defendant in SH fake lawsuit. He is a hero and I support him. Alex Jones is a liar and coward – now he says he thinks that SH happened. He has betrayed his viewers and has done much harm to the second amendment and giving validity to the obvious Sandy Hook hoax.

Doctor Moebius
Member
Doctor Moebius

I hope they sue, and the Remington lawyers demand discovery, proof of dead people, which is extremely thin. Plus, all the suspicious inconsistencies, from un-trained FBI agents (and we know now that the FBI is a corrupt tool of the Deep State/ Clinton Crime Cabal), to the statement made by the coroner, Wayne Carver, to the fact that I was a driving by the school at the exact time of the alleged shooting, and I heard NO GUNFIRE at that time! Maybe kids were killed, but I say, we’ve seen Columbine pictures, pictures from Virginia Tech, and other atrocities, so… Read more »

askandgettruth
Guest
askandgettruth

i say let them.this way ALL the truth will come out, with a trial by jury and not the paid off and corrupt judges we have today. i have grand-kids in CONN. schools and my kid has been sick since this false flag happened. this is why i have researched this for many many hours. i am no big fan of alex jones but he is making a very big mistake,it has already ruined his show and now these corrupt CONN. and other public officials want to cover their a**. obama and holder need to answer for corrupt lies. every… Read more »

m walker
Guest
m walker

But you cannot sue big pharma.for vaccine damage to a person.