Today, families filed what many of us were fairly sure were coming, lawsuits. Today's filings were in state court.
The lawsuits were filed on behalf of 9 deceased children and 1 surviving teacher who had been shot multiple times. The suit is against Bushmaster, Remington Outdoor Group, Camfour Holding, and Riverview Sales; essentially the distribution chain of the weapon used by the shooter in his attack on the school. It seems likely there will be more lawsuits to come. Some other claims have a three year statue of limitations.
Climbing a legal Mount Everest...
When examining the legal aftermath of mass shooting, it is important to note that historically, lawsuits against entities other than the shooters estate have a very low success rate. This is why there is no "rush to sue". Legal teams must gather as much evidence as possible because they face an uphill legal battle; in fact, for Sandy Hook, the lawyers face the legal equivalent of Mount Everest.
After Columbine there were several lawsuits. Obviously, the shooters families were sued and those lawsuits settled. The plaintiff's recovered. However, families also sued the high school and the sheriff's department.
Every lawsuit filed by victims against Columbine High School and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department was dismissed, except one.
The lawsuit on behalf of the estate of Dave Sanders was allowed to proceed against the Jefferson County Sheriff's department. Dave Sanders was the Columbine teacher that police allowed to bleed to death for several hours. As a matter of historical fact, hours after the shooters had committed suicide, the sheriff's department still did not move to rescue Sanders. The judge wrote " (the sheriff's department ) demonstrated a deliberate indifference towards (Dave Sanders) plight shocking to the conscience of this federal court."
At Sandy Hook, with response times measured in minutes, this would be a much tougher argument to make.
After the Virginia Tech massacre, two plaintiff's prevailed at jury trial only to be overturned by the Virginia Supreme Court. The court held in part, that the jury misunderstood Virginia law. Likewise, the lawsuits against the University of Alabama in Huntsville were tossed after their mass shooting.
In Aurora Colorado, the lawsuits against the theater are still proceeding.
In California, after the San Ysidro shooting, all of the law suits against McDonald's were tossed before trial.
A little less known fact is that the Nickel Mines (Amish) had zero lawsuits. Certain hoaxers have claimed there are always lawsuits; which is untrue. As demonstrated above, not all families sue either.
In that light, Sandy Hook is proceeding exactly as one would expect; and the precedent is clear.
Most recognize that the chance the Sandy Hook victims prevailing against persons other than the Lanza estate is, in general, is very low. That said, much good can come from lawsuits. Some could be seeking accountability. Some families could be seeking changes, some families could be seeking answers, or a combination of all of it.
Sandy Hook families face an additional hurdle because they are suing the gun manufacturer, sellers, and distributors. A 2005 Federal law was enacted to protect these entities against just such lawsuits. The lawsuit attempts to utilize a negligent entrustment exception to the law.
The jist of the pleading is essentially that since the AR-15 is known (and advertised as) a powerful military grade weapon system, Bushmaster (and those in the chain of distribution) knew or should have known that a civilian like Nancy Lanza should not be entrusted with that weapon; therefore, those in the chain are liable.
The Sandy Hook complaint essentially makes the argument that since the rifle is not good for hunting or self-defense; it has no civilian utility.
In principle, I do not agree with that argument. As a matter of fact, it grates against my every fiber. The right protected by the Second Amendment is not merely the right to hunt or self defense of a home; but that is debate for another time.
While I doubt their argument will prevail, as one who enjoys the law, I will watch the case with great interest as to what arguments get put forth. I am certainly not "chicken little" about the results of this lawsuit. The sky is not falling... in fact I bet gun sales jump again.
We can expect powerful pretrial motions to dismiss this entire action; of that we can be sure.
All of that said, and while one can never really know how one will react if your little child is slaughtered in their first grade classroom, I'm fairly sure that I would sue everyone I could get my lawyers to go after. I certainly believe these families have the right to pursue this action.
From a Sandy Hook researcher point of view...
I couldn't be more pleased. Perhaps this is a means to getting some more information about this tragic day; as such I will review every document and exhibit I can.
Going further, just to stop hearing the hoaxers ask "why no lawsuits?" is worth something to me all by itself. Obviously, these parents have no trouble demonstrating their loss. Their trouble will be in getting around federal law to hold bushmaster accountable for their loss.
I will confidently predict Bushmaster would never entertain any hoaxer arguments even as they incur significant legal expense; this is because hoaxer logic is absurd and irrational. Perhaps the hoaxers will end up calling Bushmaster a "shill".
At any rate, this is the next chapter. I've been waiting for this chapter and I will continue to study and analyze this situation as facts and documents become available and as more legal actions are undertaken.
That is the purpose of this blog.
No Wolfgang Lawsuit...
In other news; we are approaching one month since the date Wolfgang Halbig promised his monetary donors he would file a lawsuit; Wolfgang has done absolutely nothing. There is nothing to report on the Hoaxer Conspiracy Theorist "lawsuit" front.