State Supreme Court To Review Legal Appeal In Sandy Hook School Gun Lawsuit
This story was updated on December 6 to include statement from Atty Msner-Hage, and comment from Nicole Hockley.
HARTFORD - As was requested by the plaintiffs in the recently dismissed state Superior Court wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer of the semiautomatic rifle used in the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School killings, the state Supreme Court has agreed to review
the plaintiffs' appeal that challenges that dismissal, thus eliminating the need for any preliminary review of the case by the state Appellate Court.
A gunman broke into the school and shot and killed 20 first graders and six adults, before killing himself as police approached on December 14, 2012. The gunman had killed his mother at their Sandy Hook home before going to the school.
In a November 29, 2016, notice, the state Supreme Court stated that it has transferred the case to its jurisdiction.
The plaintiffs' dismissed lawsuit alleges, in part, that the 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. The defendant in the lawsuit is Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC, among other firearms-related firms. The ten plaintiffs are the estates of nine of the people killed in the incident and one of the survivors.
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 applicable law was enacted, according to the plaintiffs. In the appeal, the plaintiffs argue that the meaning of certain language in CUTPA must be determined by the state Supreme Court.
Through their lawsuit, the plaintiffs seek monetary damages, punitive damages, attorneys' fees, costs, and injunctive relief.
"We very much welcome the court's swift action, particularly as these families approach the fourth painful anniversary of the shooting," attorney Josh Koskoff, who represents the plaintiffs, said in a statement.
"Time and again our Supreme Court has recognized the importance of allowing litigants their day in court and the indispensable role of a jury as arbiters of justice. That is all these families have ever asked for," Mr Koskoff said.
Attorney Katie Mesner-Hage, representing the plaintiffs, said in a statement, "This case raises critical questions about reasonableness and accountability in an era where combat rifles are deliberately marketed as weapons of war, no matter how many schools are transformed into battlefields as a result. The Supreme Court is best positioned to decide those questions."
In a statement, Nicole Hockley, whose son, Dylan, was killed in the shooting incident, said, "Our goal is and always has been to help prevent the next Sandy Hook [incident], and today is an important step in that direction."