Connecticut Judge Dismisses Newtown Lawsuit Against Gun Maker
The wrongful death lawsuit brought by Newtown families who want to hold a gun company responsible for their loved ones’ deaths in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre was thrown out by a Connecticut judge on Friday, according to court documents.
Gunmaker Remington Arms was being sued by families of children and adults killed by a with a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle made by the company. In June, a lawyer for the Madison, North Carolina-based gun maker asked a Connecticut judge to dismiss the lawsuit.
On Friday, Superior Court Judege Barbara Bellis granted the motion to strike the lawsuit, filed by the families of nine children and adults killed and a teacher who survived the attack.
Bellis cited the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passed by Congress in 2005 that protected gun makers from such lawsuits. The families’ lawyers said their lawsuit was allowed under an exception to the act, but Bellis disagreed.
“While the families are obviously disappointed with the judge’s decision, this is not the end of the fight. We will appeal this decision immediately and continue our work to help prevent the next Sandy Hook from happening,” said Josh Koskoff, one of the lawyers representing the families.
A memorandum of the decision said Congress has broadly prohibited lawsuits “against manufacturers, distributors, dealers and importers of firearms…for the harm solely caused by the criminal or unlawful misuse of firearm products… by others when the product functioned as designed and intended.”
The document adds that the deaths of the plaintiffs’ decedents were “caused solely by the criminal misuse of a weapon by Adam Lanza.”
Lanza killed 20 children and six adults at the Newtown elementary school.
Governor Malloy expressed his disappointment in the dismissal:
“While today is a deeply disappointing day for the families, their appeal will continue this fight for justice. As I have stated before, the laws providing unique protections to gun manufacturers need to be changed to give crime victims a right to pursue legal remedies,” the state’s governor said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.