Proposed Settlement Reached In Lanza Estate Lawsuits
The 16 plaintiffs in lawsuits that were filed earlier this year against the estate of Nancy Lanza would receive nearly $94,000 each in a proposed settlement of those legal claims.
The lawsuits stem from the December 14, 2012, shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which Ms Lanza’s son, Adam Lanza, shot and killed 20 first grade students and six women.
In a July 31 letter to Probate Judge Joseph A. Egan, Jr, attorney Angelo A. Ziotas, representing the estate of James Mattioli, explains that the 16 plaintiffs have agreed to a proposed settlement which would settle their lawsuits against the Nancy Lanza estate.
The plaintiffs are the estates of students James Mattioli, Emilie Parker, Grace McDonnell, Jack Pinto, Charlotte Bacon, Jessica Rekos,Daniel Barden, Dylan Hockley, Jesse Lewis, and Benjamin Wheeler; the estates of educators Rachel D’Avino, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto; and surviving educators Natalie Hammond and Deborah Pisani.
Mr Ziotas writes that the 16 plaintiffs each would receive equal portions of the $1.5 million value of a home insurance policy that Nancy Lanza had on her house at 36 Yogananda Street. When that amount is divided by 16, each of the plaintiffs would receive $93,750.
Through the lawsuits, the plaintiffs sought money damages from the insurance firm.
One of the lawsuits claims that Nancy Lanza exhibited “carelessness and negligence,” resulting in the shooting incident.
On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza initially shot and killed his mother at their home, then drove to the school where he shot and killed 20 first grade students and six educators, before killing himself as police approached the scene.
The defendant named in the lawsuits is Samuel Starks, the administrator of Nancy Lanza’s estate.
According to the lawsuit filed by the majority of the plaintiffs, Nancy Lanza, at some point before the shooting incident, bought a Bushmaster AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle.
“The weapon was an assault rifle designed for military use in modern warfare. The Bushmaster was built to spray rapid fire and pierce body armor in order to inflict maximum casualties on the battlefield, but was sold to the general public by its manufacturer and various other business entities, even though it had no practical civilian purpose for self-defense or reasonable sporting activities,” the suit states.
Nancy Lanza kept the gun stored unsecured in her home where Adam Lanza had access to it, the lawsuit adds.
Adam Lanza’s access to that gun was a “substantial factor” in the deaths and injuries of the plaintiffs, according to the court papers.
According to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Mattioli estate, “the carelessness and negligence of Nancy Lanza” caused the injuries and deaths, in that she failed to adequately to lock up or otherwise adequately secure the gun in her home.
The Mattioli lawsuit adds that Nancy Lanza allowed her son access to the weapon, although she knew or should have known that “his mental and emotional condition made him a danger to others.”
“Nancy Lanza’s actions were a substantial factor leading to the injuries and death” on 12/14, it adds.
The Town of Newtown acquired the Lanza home for $1 from the bank which held its mortgage. The town demolished the house in March.
NOTE: This story was revised 8/4/15 to reflect that attorney Angelo A. Ziotas represents just one estate, not several estates.