Settlement Offers Made In Sandy Hook School Lawsuit
DANBURY - The estates of two of the students killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting incident of December 14, 2012, are offering to settle their pending wrongful death lawsuit against the Town of Newtown and the Newtown Board of Education, provided that they receive $5.5 million each from the defendants.
In legal papers filed on June 13 in Danbury Superior Court, the estates of Noah Pozner and Jesse Lewis make formal offers of compromise, under which they would drop their legal claims against the defendants provided that the payments are made.
The offers of compromise were made by Leonard Pozner, who is the father of the late Noah Pozner, and by Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, who are the parents of the late Jesse Lewis.
Charles Deluca, the attorney representing the Town of Newtown and the Newtown Board of Education, said, "I do not comment on pending litigation, or on filings that were made in pending litigation."
The offers of compromise were filed by attorney Devin Janosov, who represents both plaintiffs.
The next scheduled activity in the lawsuit is a pretrial conference slated for June 28. Initial jury selection for a trial of the case is scheduled for August 1, 2017.
The civil action against the Town of Newtown and its Board of Education is dated December 12, 2014, on court papers.
The estates Noah Pozner and Jesse Lewis represent two of the 20 first graders who were killed on 12/14. The lawsuit seeks money damages. Six adults also were killed in the incident.
The lawsuit alleges there was insufficient security in place in the school and its grounds, allowing the shooter, a 20-year-old male, to forcibly enter the building and then enter two classrooms and shoot and kill people within those classrooms.
The 66-page lawsuit lists a variety of reasons why the plaintiffs consider the school system to have been negligent on 12/14, resulting in the many deaths there.
The various allegations focus on the school system's not having sufficient security measures in place to prevent the deaths at the K-4 school at 12 Dickinson Drive.
According to the lawsuit, school officials failed to provide the school with classroom doors that could be locked from the inside, thereby making the "lockdown" aspect of that school's safety procedures virtually impossible to follow.
The lawsuit also alleges that school officials failed to sufficiently train and supervise the staff on the proper way to implement lockdown and evacuation plans. Classrooms in the school could only be locked from the outside with a key, in violation of state law, it alleges.
The lawsuit also states, "They failed to provide a security guard or any other type of law enforcement personnel to assist in the implementation of the policies and procedures should an intruder enter the building, while leaving a large enough non-safety glass window directly to the right of the locked outer doors of the school, making access to the building relatively simple, and [making] successful lockdown of the building virtually impossible."
The lawsuit alleges that having a 12-square-foot conventional glass panel in place adjacent to the locked main doors essentially rendered the locking of those doors useless, in terms of keeping someone from forcibly entering the building.
The shooter on the morning of 12/14 used a powerful semiautomatic rifle to shoot his way through the glass panel adjacent to the locked main doors to get inside the school. A teacher in one of the two classrooms where the students were killed was a substitute teacher who was unfamiliar with school security measures, the lawsuit alleges.
Also, the estates of Noah Pozner and Jesse Lewis are among the plaintiffs in another pending negligence and wrongful death lawsuit in state court, which focuses on the rifle that was used in the shootings.
The defendants in that case are the manufacturer, the distributor and the seller of the semiautomatic Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, which the shooter on 12/14ÃÂ used in the murders. That lawsuit is pending.