The dismissal will allow the Sandy Hook families to continue their claims against Infowars owner Alex Jones, who is liable for damages in a defamation case.
Attorneys for the family members of Sandy Hook victims have prevailed in a motion against Alex Jones and his conspiracy theory website, Infowars.
According to Reuters, the families have been dismissed from Infowars’ ongoing bankruptcy case.
Now that they are no longer a party to Infowars’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, they may resume litigation against Jones and his website.
As LegalReader.com reported last month, the families’ counsel said that Jones was trying to use bankruptcy as a vehicle to escape accountability.
“This is a situation where the first question for this court is: ‘is this proper?’” attorney Jean Beatty said in an April hearing. “Let me tell you, I think we have a sinister and unworthy purpose here.”
Beatty and other attorneys alleged that Infowars had not declared bankruptcy because it was insolvent, but because Jones wanted to force the Sandy Hook families into accepting settlements.
While the Sandy Hook families have already won a court ruling against Jones, the amount of their compensation has yet to be determined. The families have asked for a jury to decide the damages that Jones and Infowars should pay.
Nevertheless, Infowars attorney Kyun Lee suggested on Friday that the decision is not especially consequential.
According to Lee, the dispute between the Sandy Hook families and his clients is close to being resolved.
Lee says that one potential solution would be allowing the families to withdraw their claims against the insolvent Infowars while resuming litigation against non-bankrupt defendants, like Jones.
“They decided they don’t want to participate in these cases, and we’re fine with that,” Lee said, adding that the involved parties have not yet finalized any agreement.
Reuters notes that presiding U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Lopez had hoped that both sides could resolve their differences.
But in the absence of any settlement, the families, Infowars, and Jones should prepare for a May 27 hearing as to whether the bankruptcy case should be dismissed outright.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s bankruptcy watchdog—the U.S. Trustee—has also asked for the bankruptcy potion to be dismissed.
Lee said that objection is close to being solved, too.
Jones, as LegalReader.com has reported before, attracted the ire of Sandy Hook families by publicly and repeatedly suggesting that the 2012 school shooting was staged.
While Jones initially said that nobody had even died in the elementary school massacre, he later amended his interpretation of events, saying that—while the victims were real—the shooting had nonetheless been orchestrated by anti-firearm advocates as well as the mainstream media.
Jones and Texas-based Infowars are facing separate Sandy Hook-related lawsuits in Texas and Connecticut.
Christopher Mattei, an attorney for families involved in the Texas proceedings, told Reuters in an email that the bankruptcy has “been a sham from the beginning, orchestrated by Mr. Jones to delay accountability before a jury.”
Mattei said that, with the families now permitted to resume litigation, he and his clients look forward to taking their case back before the Connecticut Superior Court.
Nevertheless, Lee said that the bankruptcy case will continue as planned—barring any adverse action by the court—so that Infowars may settle its debts and obligations to other parties.