Education

U.S. Supreme Court Declines Gunmaker’s Appeal in Sandy Hook Shooting Case

By Mark Walsh — November 12, 2019 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear the appeal of gun manufacturer Remington Arms Co. of a decision by Connecticut’s highest court allowing some claims in a lawsuit stemming from the 2012 mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., to proceed

Relatives of nine of the 20 children and six adults killed by a disturbed shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School sued Remington, among other defendants, because the shooter’s mother had purchased a Bushmaster XM15-E2S, the company’s version of the AR-15 assault rifle, to share with her son.

The lawsuit brought by parents of nine of the Sandy Hook victims argues that Remington and other defendants negligently entrusted to civilians an AR-15-style assault rifle that is suitable for use only by military and law enforcement personnel. That violated a state law, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, the suit said.

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in March that the suit could proceed under an exception to a 2005 federal statute, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, that helps shields the manufacturers of assault weapons from liability.

One exception under the federal statute allows lawsuits to proceed when a manufacturer or seller of firearms knowingly violated a state or federal law applicable to the sale or marketing of firearms or ammunition and the violation “proximately” caused the plaintiff’s harm.

In its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in Remington Arms Co. v. Soto (Case No. 19-168), the gun manufacturer argued that the Connecticut high court ruling will have “immediate and severe consequences, exposing firearms industry to costly and burdensome litigation.”

“The decision could easily prompt claims directed at all aspects of a firearms manufacturer’s business activities—not just advertising, but product design, distribution, and sales,” Remington’s appeal said.

The National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Gun Owners of America, and others filed friend-of-the-court briefs in support of Remington.

Lawyers for the relatives of Sandy Hook victims who brought the suit told the U.S. Supreme Court it would be premature to take up Remington’s appeal at this still-early stage of the litigation, and that the Connecticut high court’s ruling was correct.

“Numerous additional steps remain before any final judgment against [Remington] can be had,” the relatives’ brief says. “In any event, a judgment against [Remington] in this case would do no more than afford redress for the specific unlawful marketing conduct alleged to have given rise to the tragic deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School.”

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Remington’s appeal without any comment.

A version of this news article first appeared in The School Law Blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP