Sandy Hook families’ lawsuit thrown out

A lawsuit brought by families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre was thrown out on Friday.

Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled on Friday granted a motion filed by Remington Arms Company to strike the lawsuit. Remington Arms, Bushmaster Firearms, Camfour Holding and Riverview Gun Sales of East Winsdor were the defendants in the case. 

In her 54-page ruling, Bellis said the allegations “do not fit within the common-law tort of negligence entrustment under well established Connecticut law, nor do they come within the PLCAA [Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act]’s definition of negligent entrustment.”

Bellis added that the plaintiffs “cannot avail themselves of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) to bring this action within PLCAA’s exceptions allowing lawsuits for violation of a state statute applicable to the sale of marketing of firearms.”

Bellis said that the plaintiffs sought damages for harms “that were caused solely by the criminal misuse of a weapon by Adam Lanza. Accordingly, this action falls squarely within the broad immunity provided by PLCAA.”

Read Bellis's decision here.

Families of the victim had brought the civil suit in April 2015 against the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the AR-15 rifle used by Adam Lanza on Dec. 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Lanza killed 26 people, including 20 children. Victoria Soto, a Stratford native and teacher at Sandy Hook, was one of the victims. Lanza killed himself during the shooting.

Josh Koskoff, an attorney representing the families, said the families are displeased with the lawsuit being struck down.

"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,” Koskoff said.

Bellis' ruling can be appealed, though it's unclear if an appeal will be filed.

Gov. Dannel Malloy also voiced disappointment with the case being dismissed.

"While today is a deeply disappointing day for the families, their appeal will continue this fight for justice," Malloy said. "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."

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