The legal proceeding could compel the Georgia-based firearms manufacturer to turn over materials relating to its marketing strategies and campaigns.
A speech pathology staffer at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, has initiated legal proceedings against firearms manufacturer Daniel Defense.
According to National Public Radio, the proceedings are the first legal action registered in the aftermath of the mass shooting, which left 22 dead.
Of the dead, 21 were children.
N.P.R. notes that, while the filing is not a “full-blown” lawsuit, it seeks to determine if Daniel Defense can even be sued.
The plaintiff, adds N.P.R., is exploring the possibility of seeking damages from Daniel Defense in relation to how the company promotes and markets its products.
“They’re marketing to people who it’s not reasonable should have guns […] and we think that may be young people,” attorney Don Flanary said in a statement.
National Public Radio identifies the petitioners as 56-year-old Emilia “Amy” Marin, a speech pathologist staffer at Robb Elementary.
If Marin’s filing is successful, it could compel Daniel Defense to sit for deposition and produce materials relating to its marketing strategies, campaigns, and internal communications.
Under Texas law, the prospective parties in a lawsuit can begin collecting evidence before bringing a lawsuit under Rule 202. This filing—called a pre-suit deposition—can compel testimony, which may then be used in an anticipated lawsuit or action.
Daniel Defense, says N.P.R., manufactured the two AR-15-style rifles used in the Uvalde shooting.
The 18-year-old shooter, Salvador Ramos, shared receipts of his firearm purchases on social media on Instagram.
A representative for Daniel Defense said that the company plans to cooperate with ongoing government investigations.
“We will keep the families of the victims and the entire Uvalde community in our thoughts and prayers,” Daniel Defense said in a statement.
According to National Public Radio, Marin was initially suspected of propping the school door open prior to the shooting, inadvertently allowing Ramos to access the semi-secure campus.
However, Uvalde law enforcement walked back their claims; video footage procured by the San Antonio Express-News shows Marin closing the school door behind her.
Flanary says that his client is naturally upset at being falsely blamed for the deaths but emphasized that her priority is pursuing justice from the people who enabled it—not first-responders.
“Going after the police officers who made a mistake isn’t going to prevent it from happening again,” Flanary said. “She feels like if we go this direction, we can make a change.”
However, Texas law may limit any the extent of any action against Georgia-based Daniel Defense.
Traditionally, firearm manufacturers have been shielded from liability if and when their products are used to commit crimes. While plaintiffs in other states—including the families of Sandy Hook shooting victims–have had recent, far-reaching successes, Texas’s consumer protection laws may not permit a full-scale lawsuit against a gunmaker.
“We’re realistic about our path forward,” Flanary told N.P.R. “[But] things are changing, and we have to put the pressure on.”