Motions to stay in Sandy Hook weapons case denied

A Superior Court judge denied motions made by gun companies to delay discovery in the trial presented by families of victims in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Judge Barbara Bellis denied the motions made by Remington Arms Company, Bushmaster Firearms, Camfour Holding and Riverview Gun Sales of East Winsdor to have discovery in the case stayed. The order means the companies being sued by the families of the Sandy Hook massacre must begin handing over internal documents and communications.

The gun companies had requested the stay until Bellis ruled on their motions to strike. But Bellis said in her ruling that a temporary stay might cause a delay in the trial, which is scheduled to begin on April 3, 2018.

“The court notes that while the motion to strike is scheduled for argument on June 20, 2016, a decision on the motion is not likely to be issued in less than 120 days in light of the complexity of the issues raised,” Bellis said. “Given the April 3, 2018 trial date, even a temporary stay of discovery through October of 2016 would translate into a delay of the trial, which the court is unwilling to consider given the fact that the case was filed in January of 2015. The motions to stay discovery are therefore denied.”

Josh Koskoff, an attorney representing the families, agreed with Bellis’ latest ruling.

“For almost a year and a half the families have waited patiently. They have waited and watched as the defendants tried every tactic to avoid having to disclose a single document or answer a single question under oath. Now that wait is officially over,” he said.

On April 14, Bellis rejected the gun companies’ motion to dismiss the case altogether. Five days later, she set the trial start date.

The families filed their lawsuit in January 2015, seeking damages after the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. The victims, 20 children and six adults, were killed by Adam Lanza, who killed himself at Sandy Hook. Victoria Soto, a Stratford native and teacher at Sandy Hook, was one of the victims.