Sandy Hook Gun Lawsuit Appeal Submitted To State Supreme Court
HARTFORD - The families of nine Sandy Hook School shooting victims and one of the survivors, on Tuesday, November 15, asked that the Connecticut Supreme Court hear their legal appeal after their lawsuit was dismissed last month by a Superior Court judge in Bridgeport.
The plaintiffs' lawsuit alleges that the semiautomatic rifle used in the shooting was negligently entrusted to the public, and that the defendants violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) in aggressively and unethically marketing the rifle to the public, according to a statement from the lawyers for the plaintiffs.
In describing the shooting incident as a "singular event in Connecticut history," the appeal asks that the Connecticut Supreme Court decide whether the sellers of the weapon used in the shooting can be held accountable for the deadly incident under Connecticut law.
The appeal states, in part, "The loss of twenty first-graders and six educators would shake any community to its core.
"Ours had to grapple with the manner in which those lives were lost. Children and teachers were gunned down in classrooms and hallways with a weapon that was designed for our armed forces and engineered to deliver maximum carnage. The assault was so rapid that no police force on earth could have been expected to stop it," the appeal states.
"Fifty-pound bodies were riddled with five, eleven, even thirteen bullets... It is the reality the defendants created when they chose to sell a weapon of war and aggressively market its assaultive capabilities. Ten families who paid the price for those choices seek accountability through Connecticut common and statutory law. It is only appropriate that Connecticut's highest court decide whether these families have the right to proceed," according to the plaintiffs' legal papers.
"We feel strongly that the critical issues raised in this case belong before our state's Supreme Court and we hope the Court agrees. The Supreme Court not only sets precedent, but also reviews the applicability and relevance of prior decisions, and works to ensure that the common law is up-to-date with the realities and dangers of a changing world," according to the lawsuit.
The families' appeal asks the Supreme Court to consider the scope of the common law of negligent entrustment in Connecticut - an issue that has not been discussed in the state's appellate courts in nearly a century - and its application to circumstances and technology that could not have been contemplated when the cause of action was first recognized, according to a statement from the lawyers for the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs argue that the meaning of certain language in CUTPA must be determined by the Supreme Court.
When Judge Barbara Bellis dismissed the case in October, her opinion stated that she was bound by two appellate court rulings from 2005 and from 2006 that require plaintiffs to establish a business relationship with the defendants in order to bring a CUTPA claim.
Judge Bellis acknowledged, however, that "consistent with the plaintiffs' argument, the language of CUTPA itself makes no mention of a business relationship requirement," according to the plaintiffs.
A gunman killed 26 people, including 20 first graders and six adults, at Sandy Hook School on December 14, 2012, before killing himself as police approached.
The prime defendants in the lawsuit are Remington Arms Company, LLC, and Remington Outdoors Company, Inc.