Families of mass-shooting victims at Newtown Sandy Hook Elementary School file lawsuit claiming that gun manufacturer Remington (and its distributor and retailer) is essentially responsible for the murderous massacre.
FACTS (brief, 6 sentences):
Families of shooting victims claim Remington Outdoor Co [FREDM.UL] should be held responsible because its military-themed marketing was designed to appeal to young men like killer Adam Lanza. “They knew they were hitting their mark and Lanza was responding to their marketing,” said lawyer Joshua Koskoff. The Connecticut Supreme Court will now decide whether the families of nine of the victims and one survivor can proceed with a trial seeking to hold Remington, along with a gun wholesaler and local retailer, responsible for the carnage based on its marketing. The families are advancing a somewhat novel legal argument in hopes of overcoming a federal law enacted by U.S. Congress in 2005 to shield gun manufacturers from liability for how their products are used.
ISSUES (Summarize both sides argument, both perspectives. You can use bullet points):
Plaintiff claims Remington marketed its products to young men like the killer. “Remington may have never known Adam Lanza but they had been courting him for years,” Koskoff said. “It wasn’t just that [Remington] marketed the weapon looking for people with characteristics of Adam Lanza but that Adam Lanza heard the message. He idolized the military and wanted to be an Army Ranger and Remington marketed the AR-15 as the weapon used by the Army Rangers.”
Defendant claims it is immune from suit in the matter due to federal law. Vogts (Remington atty.) and attorney Christopher Renzulli, who represents Camfour (distributor), stuck to the argument that they have used since the lawsuit was filed — PLCAA protects them from this type of lawsuit. Vogts argued the law is clear — the manufacturer of the gun used at Sandy Hook is not liable for the damage “the criminal” caused. “There is no need for a legal re-examination of the law,” Vogts said. “Under the law, the manufacturer of the gun used by the criminal that day isn’t responsible legally for his actions.” Justice Palmer challenged Vogts, asking him if he would acknowledge that the law must adapt to current times.
LAW (with references, no need for blue book citations. This is the most important part, make sure the attorneys can answer any questions from callers on the topic. You can use bullet points):
“Was it negligent entrustment to sell the weapon to [Adam Lanza’s mother, Nancy Lanza]?” Nancy Lanza bought the Bushmaster AR-15 used in the shooting. (See attached complaint.)
(Negligent entrustment is a cause of action in tort law that arises where one party (the entrustor) is held liable for negligence because they negligently provided another party (the entrustee) with a dangerous instrumentality, and the entrusted party caused injury to a third party with that instrumentality.)
A Superior Court judge in Bridgeport dismissed the lawsuit in 2016 agreeing with attorneys for Remington that the lawsuit “falls squarely within the broad immunity” provided to gun manufacturers and dealers by the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA.
Legal experts said the case will come down to how the state Supreme Court will interpret two possible exceptions allowed under PLCAA — whether Remington can be held liable for so-called “negligent entrustment” or whether it violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. Negligent entrustment is defined as “supplying of a qualified product by a seller for use by another person when the seller knows, or reasonably should know, the person to whom the product is supplied is likely to, and does, use the product in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical injury to the person or others.”
DETAILED FACTS (tell the story):
In 2012, an apparently insane or seriously disturbed young man opened fire in an elementary school in Connecticut (where his mother was employed). He killed 20 first-graders and 6 adults. The families are now suing the gun manufacturer, distributor, and retailer, claiming those parties are to blame for the carnage. The central question seems to be: “Was it negligent entrustment to sell the weapon to the killer’s mother, who bought the gun (manufactured by Remington) used in the shooting.”
OTHER FACTS (interesting facts, related facts, trivia, etc.):
McCarthy v. Olin Corp. 119 F.3d 148 (2nd Cir. 1997)
ARTICLE LINKS (so we can print them out):
MEDIA (less than a 2 minutes FUNNY sound bite. You can include a couple of options. We realize that for some topics there is not much):
Nothing funny here for anyone, unfortunately.
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