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Lawsuits & Litigation

Sandy Hook Parents Pursue Lawsuit Against Newtown and School District

— November 10, 2017

Lawyers for parents of two of the children slain in the Sandy Hook massacre asked that a judge not throw out their lawsuit against Newtown and the local school district.

According to the News Times, attorneys for the city want the courts to dismiss the suit. Their argument is that only one individual – Adam Lanza – can be held responsible for the 2012 shooting which left 28 dead.

Nevertheless, the families spearheading the lawsuit requested Danbury Superior Court to let the trial go forward in March.

“It seems many of the arguments that the defense makes […] is that the teachers could not do “X” in the emergency and therefore we are not responsible for what happened,” read the argument penned by attorneys Devin Janosov and Donald Papcsy. “Yet the facts show that it was the direct fault of the defendants that the teachers couldn’t do “X” in the emergency in the first place.”

School officials seemed somewhat incredulous that the same administration which saw employees lose their life in the tragedy was being be held responsible for its propagation.

The News Times said “the families’ lawsuit against Newtown was in the headlines in September when they received a judge’s permission to inspect the emergency folders taken by police from two classrooms where teachers and students were slain.”

By investigating the folders, attorneys found that one of the teachers hadn’t had the key needed to lock her classroom on the day of the massacre – a claim that ran counter to the district’s assertion that every teacher had one.

The AR-15 used by Adam Lanza in Newtown. The Bushmaster has been targeted by anti-gun activists as especially dangerous, due largely in part to its appearance; image courtesy of the Connecticut Department of Justice

In July, Newtown had asked that the suit be thrown out on the basis that nobody reasonably have foreseen the “horrendous and unprecedented” violence.

The shooter, Adam Lanza, fired 150 rounds in less than five minutes.

The attack was among the worst to be perpetrated on school grounds since the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.

Since emergency protocols were in place – such as requiring teachers to have a classroom key in a special folder – the plaintiffs are arguing that families had a right to expect guidelines be followed.

“While it is true that staff from Sandy Hook School lost their lives in a manner that can be seen as heroic, noble and selfless, the plaintiffs have not sued the staff member victims who lost their lives,” said the attorneys in their filing. “The plaintiffs lost their children in this tragedy, and have fair reason to place blame on the defendants which they have sued; the town of Newtown and the Newtown Board of Education.”

The News Times says both families involved in the lawsuit are also litigants in another, directed against firearms manufacturer Remington.

As LegalReader reported earlier in the year, some victims of Sandy Hook tried suing Remington for manufacturing the weapon used by Lanza in his attack. That lawsuit was ultimately dismissed, with its continuity dependent on an appeal.


Lawyers for Sandy Hook shooting victims’ families argue for their case

Sandy Hook: Judge dismisses families’ lawsuit against gunmaker

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