Sandy Hook lawsuit plaintiffs have reached a $73 million settlement agreement with the manufacturer of the gun used in the 2012 school shooting.
Fourth Deadliest Mass Shooting
On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people in less than five minutes at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. The victims included twenty children between six and seven years old and six adult staff members. Lanza committed suicide when first responders arrived at the school.
The gunman shot his victims with a Remington Bushmaster XM15-E2S semiautomatic rifle owned by his mother, with whom he had resided. Lanza had killed her earlier that morning before going to the school. The tragic incident is the deadliest mass shooting at an elementary school and the fourth-deadliest mass shooting overall in United States history.
Sandy Hook Lawsuit Filed for Wrongful Death
In December 2014, personal injury attorneys representing the surviving family members of nine Sandy Hook victims filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Connecticut state court against Remington, the manufacturer of the rifle used in the shooting.
The Sandy Hook lawsuit alleged that the XM15-E2S was suitable only for military and policing applications and that the company inappropriately marketed and sold it to civilians. On these grounds, the plaintiffs’ attorneys claimed an exemption from the 2005 Federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that would normally disallow such a lawsuit for lacking standing.
The PLCAA shields firearms manufacturers and dealers from liability when crimes have been committed with their products. Nevertheless, manufacturers and dealers may still be liable for damages resulting from defective products, breach of contract, criminal misconduct, and other actions for which they are directly responsible. Defendants could also be liable for negligent entrustment in cases in which they have reason to believe that a gun is intended for use in a crime.
The attorneys for the families argued that Remington’s “aggressive and violence-glorifying marketing of its AR-15s” – which included product placement in violent video games – “was an unfair trade practice,” thereby circumventing the PLCAA’s legal protections.
Suit Overcomes Multiple Legal Challenges
The Sandy Hook lawsuit overcame multiple legal challenges, including a 2015 effort to transfer the case to federal court and a 2016 dismissal by a judge who ruled that the complaint was invalid per federal and Connecticut laws.
The plaintiffs appealed the dismissal to the Connecticut Supreme Court, which reversed part of the trial court’s rulings in March 2019 and remanded the case back to Bridgeport Superior Court. That court ruled that the families’ appeal to the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act – which demonstrated that Remington had used advertising that presented the weapons in an “unfair, unethical, or dangerous manner” and sought to “expand the market for [its] assault weapons through advertising campaigns that encouraged consumers … to launch offensive assaults against their perceived enemies” – was not prohibited by PLCAA. Therefore, the Sandy Hook lawsuit plaintiffs had sufficient standing to argue their case at trial.
The United States Supreme Court later refused to hear an appeal from Remington over the Bridgeport Superior Court’s ruling, and a judge denied another motion to dismiss the lawsuit in July 2021.
Full Insurance Coverage Tendered
On February 14, 2022, the plaintiffs and their attorneys announced that they had reached a settlement agreement with Remington, which filed for bankruptcy in 2020. Four insurers for the company agreed to pay the families $73 million, the full amount of the coverage available.
The Sandy Hook lawsuit settlement is the largest on record against a gun manufacturer for a shooting death, though it is not the first. In 2004, the families of eight victims of snipers in the Washington, DC area obtained a $2.5 million settlement, with $550,000.00 coming from Bushmaster Firearms Inc. and the rest coming from a gun dealer.
Have You Lost a Loved One Because of Negligence?
The loss of a loved one can be devastating, particularly when it is the result of someone else’s careless actions. If your close family member was killed because of negligence, consider doing what so many other survivors have done before you and reach out to the wrongful death attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
With more than $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. No other plaintiff firm is more respected – or more feared – by insurance companies and defense attorneys throughout the state. Our personal injury attorneys have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation you need to help get your family the justice it deserves.
Contact GWC today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation with a dedicated personal injury attorney. You may call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.<< BACK TO BLOG POSTS