Sandy Hook Families' Attorneys Fight Gun Makers' Motion to Stay Remanded Case

Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown,

Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Photo by Ron Frank/Shutterstock.com.

The attorneys for the Sandy Hook families have filed a memorandum of law in opposition of Remington's motion for a stay in the litigation, arguing the gun maker will not suffer irreparable harm if the stay isn't granted.

Remington Arms Co. LLC and its daughter company, Bushmaster Firearms International LLC, filed a motion to stay the litigation earlier this month with the Connecticut's high court as it prepares to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. Remington has said it will base its appeal on the Protection of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act, which protects gun dealers and manufacturers from liability when crimes are committed with their products.

But in its 4-3 ruling in March reviving the lawsuit against Remington, the Connecticut Supreme Court said there was an exception to PLCAA that allowed for legal action to proceed under state law regarding the sale and marketing of firearms.

The suit stems from shooter Adam Lanza's killing of 20 elementary school students and six educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 using a Remington AR-15 rifle. The plaintiffs are his victims' parents and relatives.

The parents of nine of the school shooting victims brought a lawsuit in 2014, seeking financial damages against Remington and Bushmaster, which made the rifle. The families' attorneys have repeatedly said the companies are liable for selling and aggressively marketing the gun. Remington has said that attempts to blame it for the shooting were tantamount to an attempt to "demonize the rifle."

To meet the standards of a stay, the gun makers must meet three prongs: establish a reasonable probability that four justices will consider the issue sufficiently meritorious to grant certiorari; show a fair prospect that a majority of the court will vote to reverse the judgment; and must demonstrate a likelihood that irreparable harm will result from the denial of a stay.

Plaintiff counsel from Bridgeport-based Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder said in the memorandum filed Tuesday that Remington and Bushmaster have yet to meet the requirements.

"This court's remand for trial is not extraordinary at all, and defendants' motion fails each prong," the families' memorandum states. "Defendants will not suffer irreparable harm absent a stay merely because the case will proceed to discovery and trial. … A stay therefore would serve no purpose other than delay."

As for PLCAA, the plaintiff families cite other legal cases, and write the "PLCCA does not give defendants an immunity from suit," but rather offers "a mere defense to liability."

Remington and Bushmaster attorneys are James Vogts and Andrew Lothson, both partners at Chicago's Swanson, Martin & Bell. They did not respond to a request for comment.

Representing the families are Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder's Josh Koskoff, Alinor Sterling and Katherine Mesner-Hage, None of the attorneys responded to a request for comment Wednesday.

 

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