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Connecticut Supreme Court permits Sandy Hook victims to sue Remington

Connecticut Supreme Court permits Sandy Hook victims to sue Remington

Presents federal statutory and constitutional issues that increase the likelihood the U.S. Supreme Court will take the case.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd6FodzDr6E

The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that the victims and their families of the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012 could sue the manufacturer of the gun used under Connecticut law, notwithstanding that the shooter Adam Lanza didn’t purchase the gun (he stole it from his mother) and manufacturers are broadly protected by The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).

Because the case turns on a federal statute and also protection of 2nd Amendment rights, and has such sweeping national implications, there is a strong likelihood the U.S. Supreme Court will take the case, despite its reluctance in recent years to hear 2d Amendment cases.

The statutory issue is whether violation of a state consumer protection statute by a gun manufacturer satisfies the exception for protection as a predicate act. The CT Supreme Court ruling that such a consumer protection violation was a predicate act would eviscerate the effectiveness of the PLCAA. As the NY Times describes, the consumer protection theory was that the AR-15 was marketed in a way that made it likely troubled people like Lanza would use the gun to commit a crime:

In the lawsuit, the families seized upon the marketing for the AR-15-style Bushmaster used in the 2012 attack, which invoked the violence of combat and used slogans like “Consider your man card reissued.”

Lawyers for the families argued that those messages reflected a deliberate effort to appeal to troubled young men like Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who charged into the elementary school and killed 26 people, including 20 first graders, in a spray of gunfire….

In the 4-3 ruling, the justices agreed with a lower court judge’s decision to dismiss most of the claims raised by the families, but also found that the sweeping federal protections did not prevent the families from bringing a lawsuit based on wrongful marketing claims. The court ruled that the case can move ahead based on a state law regarding unfair trade practices.

Additionally, the CT Supreme Court practically dared the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case by opining that the AR-15 may not even be covered by the 2nd Amendment:

There is no doubt that congressional supporters of PLCAA were committed to Americans’ second amendment freedoms and sought to secure those freedoms by immunizing firearms companies from frivolous lawsuits. It is not at all clear, however, that the second amendment’s protections even extend to the types of quasi-military, semiautomatic assault rifles at issue in the present case.

The question is not only whether the U.S. Supreme Court will take the case, but when that will happen — now, or only after a final judgment is rendered in the CT courts. That’s key, because if a gun manufacturer otherwise protected by PLCAA has to go through discovery and trial, that defeats the purpose of PLCAA.

In 2016, we covered earlier proceedings in the case, in which a lower court judge dismissed the case because the gun manufacturers had broad immunity under PLCAA, Connecticut judge dismisses Sandy Hook families’ suit against Remington.

The key portions of the The majority Opinion (pdf.) and Dissent (pdf.) are excerpted below. Because the opinions as posted on the CT Supreme Court website were mostly unformatted pdfs., I’ve added paragraph breaks in the excerpts for ease of reading.

Here is the Table of Contents of the Majority Opinion:

MAJORITY OPINION

The PLCAA discussion starts at page 40 of the pdf.:

Having concluded that the plaintiffs have pleaded legally cognizable CUTPA claims sounding in wrongful marketing, we next consider whether the trial court properly determined that PLCAA does not bar the plain tiffs’ wrongful death claims. Our review of the federal statute persuades us that the trial court correctly concluded that CUTPA, as applied to the plaintiffs’ allegations, falls within one of PLCAA’s exceptions.

* * *

Both the plaintiffs and the defendants contend that the plain language of the predicate exception, read in the context of the broader statute, unambiguously favors their position. In this part of the opinion, we explain why the plaintiffs’ interpretation of the statutory language is plainly the more reasonable one. We consider the text of the predicate exception itself, the broader statutory framework, the congressional statement of findings and purposes, and the defendants’ argument that treating CUTPA as a predicate statute would lead to absurd results.

Although we agree with the plaintiffs that their reading of the statutory language is the better one, we recognize that the defendants’ interpretation is not implausible. Therefore, in part V C of the opinion, we also review various extrinsic sources of congressional intent to resolve any ambiguities. Our review of both the statutory language and these extrinsic sources persuades  s
that Congress did not mean to preclude actions alleging that firearms companies violated state consumer protection laws by promoting their weapons for illegal, criminal purposes.

* * *

There is no doubt that congressional supporters of PLCAA were committed to Americans’ second amendment freedoms and sought to secure those freedoms by immunizing firearms companies from frivolous lawsuits. It is not at all clear, however, that the second amendment’s protections even extend to the types of quasi-military, semiautomatic assault rifles at issue in the present case. See District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 627, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 171 L. Ed. 2d 637 (2008) (indicating that second amendment’s protection does not extend to ‘‘ ‘dangerous and unusual weapons’ ’’and, therefore, that M16s and related military style rifles may be banned); Kolbe v. Hogan, 849 F.3d 114, 143 (4th Cir.) (reading Heller to mean that second amendment does not protect right to possess assault weapons featuring high capacity magazines, such as AR-15), cert. denied, U.S. , 138 S. Ct. 469, 199 L. Ed. 2d 374 (2017); New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Cuomo, 804 F.3d 242, 257 (2d Cir. 2015) (assuming for sake of argument that second amendment does apply to semiautomatic assault weapons such as AR-15 but upholding outright prohibitions against civilian ownership of such weapons), cert. denied sub nom. Shew v. Malloy, U.S. , 136 S. Ct. 2486, 195 L. Ed. 2d 822 (2016); see also Friedman v. Highland Park, 784 F.3d 406, 410–12 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, U.S. , 136 S. Ct. 447, 193 L. Ed. 2d 483 (2015); Fyock v. Sunnyvale, 779 F.3d 991, 999 (9th Cir. 2015); Heller v. District of Columbia, 670 F.3d 1244, 1261 (D.C. Cir. 2011).

Accordingly, we conclude that, on balance, PLCAA’s statement of findings and purposes also bears out the plaintiffs’ interpretation of the statute, namely, that illegal market ing is not protected.56

* * *

CONCLUSION

It is, of course, possible that Congress intended to broadly immunize firearms sellers from liability for the sort of egregious misconduct that the plaintiffs have alleged but failed to effectively express that intent in the language of PLCAA or during the legislative hearings. If that is the case, and in light of the difficulties that the federal courts have faced in attempting to distill a clear rule or guiding principle from the predicate exception, Congress may wish to revisit the issue and clarify its intentions.

We are confident, however, that, if there were credible allegations that a firearms seller had run explicit advertisements depicting and glorifying school shootings, and promoted its products in video games, such as ‘‘School Shooting,’’ that glorify and reward such unlawful conduct,85 and if a troubled young man who watched those advertisements and played those games were inspired thereby to commit a terrible crime like the ones involved in the Sandy Hook massacre, then even the most ardent sponsors of PLCAA would not have wanted to bar a consumer protection lawsuit seeking to hold the supplier accountable for the injuries wrought by such unscrupulous marketing practices.

That is not this case, and yet the underlying legal principles are no different. Once we accept the premise that Congress did not intend to immunize firearms suppliers who engage in truly unethical and irresponsible marketing practices promoting criminal conduct, and given that statutes such as CUTPA are the only means available to address those types of wrongs, it falls to a jury to decide whether the promotional schemes alleged in the present case rise to the level of illegal trade practices and whether fault for the tragedy can be laid at their feet.

For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that the trial court properly determined that, although most of the plaintiffs’ claims should have been dismissed, PLCAA does not bar the plaintiffs’ wrongful marketing claims and that, at least to the extent that it prohibits the unethical advertising of dangerous products for illegal purposes, CUTPA qualifies as a predicate statute. Specifically, if the defendants did indeed seek to expand the market for their assault weapons through advertising campaigns that encouraged consumers to use the weapons not for legal purposes such as self-defense, hunting, collecting, or target practice, but to launch offensive assaults against their perceived enemies, then we are aware of nothing in the text or legislative history of PLCAA to indicate that Congress intended to shield the defendants from liability for the tragedy that resulted.

The judgment is reversed with respect to the trial court’s ruling that the plaintiffs lack standing to bring a CUTPA claim and its conclusion that the plaintiffs’ wrongful death claims predicated on the theory that any sale of military style assault weapons to the civilian market represents an unfair trade practice were not barred under the applicable statute of limitations, and the case is remanded for further proceedings according to law; the judgment is affirmed in all other respects.

DISSENT

The Dissent focused on the PLCAA:

ROBINSON, J., with whom VERTEFEUILLE and ELGO, Js., join, dissenting in part.

In 2005, Congress enacted the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (arms act), 15 U.S.C. § 7901 et seq., to preempt what it had deemed to be frivolous lawsuits against the firearms industry arising from the proliferation of gun related deaths resulting from criminal activity in cities and towns across the country. See 15 U.S.C. § 7901 (2012) (articulating findings and purposes underlying arms act).1

That preemption is not, however, unconditional, as there are six exceptions to the definition of ‘‘qualified civil liability action’’ set forth in 15 U.S.C. § 7903 (5) (A)2 that narrow the category of cases proscribed by the arms act. See 15 U.S.C. § 7902 (2012).3 One such exception, for ‘‘an action in which a manufacturer or seller of a [firearm, ammunition, or component part] knowingly violated a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product, and the violation was a proximate cause of the harm for which relief is sought’’; 15 U.S.C. § 7903 (5) (A) (iii) (2012); ‘‘has come to be known as the ‘predicate exception,’ because a plaintiff not only must present a cognizable claim, he or she also must allege a knowing violation of a ‘predicate statute.’ ’’ Ileto v. Glock, Inc., 565 F.3d 1126, 1132 (9th Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 560 U.S. 924, 130 S. Ct. 3320, 176 L. Ed. 2d 1219 (2010).

In part V of its opinion, the majority concludes that the claims made by the plaintiffs4 under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq., which are founded on a theory that wrongful and unscrupulous advertising by the defendants,5 who manufactured, distributed, and sold the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, Model XM15-E2S, was a substantial factor in the criminal activity of the shooter at the Sandy Hook School on December 14, 2012, are not preempted by the arms act because CUTPA is a predicate statute for purposes of the predicate exception. Having considered the text and legislative history of the arms act, I adopt a contrary answer to this national question of first impression, and conclude that the predicate exception encompasses only those statutes that govern the sale and marketing of firearms and ammunition specifically, as opposed to generalized unfair trade practices statutes that, like CUTPA, govern a broad array of commercial activities. Because the distastefulness of a federal law does not diminish its preemptive effect, I would affirm the judgment of the trial court striking the plaintiff’s complaint in its entirety. Accordingly, I respectfully dissent from part V of the majority opinion.

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Comments

harleycowboy | March 14, 2019 at 4:55 pm

So people can sue car manufacturers for drunk driving deaths?

    legacyrepublican in reply to harleycowboy. | March 14, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    You’re close. It is more sinister than that.

    I think a more accurate analogy would be that the victims of Charlottesville could sue Dodge because it advertised how powerful the Dodge Challenger was which encouraged the drive to attack with his car. Because, you know, toxic masculinity.

    Or, by the same token, those same victims could sue the producers of The Dukes of Hazard because it encouraged the driver of that attack to believe in white supremacy and then to act in a lethal manner with a Dodge Challenger. Because, you know, toxic southern masculinity.

    Neither of these examples is in anyway true, IMHO, but I think that this is the kind of absurdity where the slippery slope would lead to in the end.

      Fiftycaltx in reply to legacyrepublican. | March 14, 2019 at 7:09 pm

      And they can sue Exxon because they used to market gasoline as “putting a TIGER in your tank” and the crazed pilot was identifying as a Tiger and the people were his prey. And they can probably figure out an angle to sue “Fruit of the Loom” because the crazy was wearing underwear and FOTL has “deep pockets”.

        ahad haamoratsim in reply to Fiftycaltx. | March 15, 2019 at 9:47 am

        I used to wear FOTL colored t-shirts in my college days because they had a pocket, but the pocket was not all that deep – just big enough for a pack of cigarets. If their other products had pockets, I never noticed it.

      Not only auto manufactures but producers of Alcohol, any entity that sells or distributes alcohol the possibilities are endless!

    Milhouse in reply to harleycowboy. | March 14, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    Not exactly. But suppose a car manufacturer were to advertise its products to alcoholics, showing people driving its car while drinking from an open bottle, and generally insinuating that theirs was the perfect car to drive drunk. In such a case, a victim might well succeed in a lawsuit. It’d be tough, but conceivable. Well, these plaintiffs claim that’s essentially what Remington did. It’s BS, but only a jury can officially call it that; judges must (at this stage) proceed on the assumption that it might be true.

    So the question is only whether the suit is prevented by the federal statute that prevents most such lawsuits; that statute lists some exceptions, and the question is whether the law they’re suing under falls into one of those exceptions.

      tom_swift in reply to Milhouse. | March 14, 2019 at 10:38 pm

      and generally insinuating that theirs was the perfect car to drive drunk.

      But Remington never implied that any of their guns were the ideal thing for shooting up schools.

        Milhouse in reply to tom_swift. | March 15, 2019 at 3:47 am

        You can say that, and I agree with you, but the plaintiffs claim that is what Remington’s advertising amounts to. And without the PLCAA they’d be entitled to a chance to convince a finder-of-fact of it. So the question here is whether PLCAA applies.

          Concise in reply to Milhouse. | March 15, 2019 at 12:55 pm

          Generally but I couldn’t say for sure, without being more familiar with relevant precedents, that the proximate cause issue shouldn’t, in this case, be resolved in favor of defendants as a matter of law. But one thing I believe can be said with certainty. If this goes to trial and the matter is left to a jury alone, Remington will absolutely lose notwithstanding any legal argument.

Good Luck on this one. Geez, every automotive high performance car will now be sued in every accident.

    ahad haamoratsim in reply to MarkSmith. | March 15, 2019 at 9:50 am

    LA anticipated that in one episode. Memory fails, but I seem to recall the plaintiffs sued a car dealer for selling their decedent a GTO (that part I remember, along with the ’60’s era reference to it as a Goat) without making sure he was qualified to handle such a powerful machine.

    PersonofInterests in reply to MarkSmith. | March 15, 2019 at 10:57 am

    Lawyers will have a field day with any and all things manufactured/producted, e.g., Butter Knives, Nail Guns, Hammers, Bungy Chords, Blunt Instruments, etc., etc.; inanimate objects that but for their controlled use by A HUMAN BEING, are well, inanimate.

    If this Country is not already over the edge with our insane Justice System and the unelected Black Robed Politicians and Lawyers who run it, surely we are close.

    And what about the mother of the Nutjob that carried out the Sandyhook Massacre who failed to have her son committed, or who may have made applicaiton and officials in The Peoples Republic of Connecticut failed to act so that in the interim, Little Adam who played all day with Violent Video Games while Mom’s AR and its ammo were not locked up, let his devil leak out for no good purpose. “The Courant” Newspaper attempted to get access to the shooter’s material and it took 5 years before their FOIA request to the State’s Officials was honored. Just reading raised the hair on the back of my neck as it reveals Little Adam to be the very kind of person who should never been around matches, much less a gun; never taken to a shooting range to learn how to use Mom’s lawfully purchased gun. What good does a background check do, OR REFUSAL TO SELL BY OBSERVANT CAREFUL SELLERS DO, when IRRESPONSIBLE ENABLERS DEFEAT THEM?? Mom paid the ultimate price for her stupidity, but victims would have been spared IF SHE HAD BEEN JUSE ONE THING: R E S P O N S I B L E.

You know where you want to go, and you find a way to get there. I liked especially their attempt to show the depth of their thought by writing in a convoluted, murky style. This kind of stupid writing has been thoroughly mocked and castigated by George Orwell.

Some judges never learn, I guess.

Judges and federal attorneys really need to get hold of the idea that going after people for political reasons only makes the citizenry want their heads.

Are we a nation of laws or men?

Right now the answer is men, stupid men who actually think they are smart. Casuistry.

rabid wombat | March 14, 2019 at 5:08 pm

Dead on Appeal….

Too bad there will not be any “clapback” on the idiots who made this ruling….

Connecticut Militia Law: Sec. 27-2. Classes of militia. The militia shall be divided into four classes as follows: The unorganized militia, the organized militia, the National Guard and the naval militia. The National Guard for the purposes of this chapter shall consist of the National Guard and the Air National Guard. The unorganized militia shall consist of all male citizens and all male residents of the state who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, not exempt from military duty by federal or state laws or by such reasons of physical or mental disabilities as shall be prescribed in general orders or regulations published by the Adjutant General and approved by the Governor and who are not members of the organized militia or of the National Guard or of the naval militia, and all female citizens and all female residents of the state who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, who may voluntarily offer their services to the state

The militia, when called, is supposed to come armed and ready. What does the court what the militia to come with? Popguns?

Any citizen of the United States should be freely able to purchase the standard firearm issued to a Mark 1 Mod 0 infantryman. The standard firearm, the fully automatic selectable fire version.

    BobM in reply to gospace. | March 14, 2019 at 9:13 pm

    I would agree that the desire to ban guns based on “scary looking” is fairly stupid, but I don’t really have a problem with restricting fully automatic rifles to military and such with a possible need. Especially since my Army training emphasized how useless and countr-productive full auto is on most situations.

      tom_swift in reply to BobM. | March 14, 2019 at 10:40 pm

      but I don’t really have a problem with restricting fully automatic rifles to military and such with a possible need.

      The Constitution has a problem with it.

      iconotastic in reply to BobM. | March 15, 2019 at 12:23 am

      ” Especially since my Army training emphasized how useless and countr-productive full auto is on most situations.”

      So why make fully automatic weapons illegal then? Leaving aside the 2A issues with the fact that full auto is nothing new it seems to me that the very ineffectiveness of full auto for anything other than suppressive fire would deny any overriding State interest.

        Rick the Curmudgeon in reply to iconotastic. | March 15, 2019 at 12:53 am

        Suppressors, short-barreled rifles and shotguns and full auto are illegal because some gangsters were using them during Prohibition.

          We need to purge the idea from America “that just because someone abuses something, we should ban it for everyone!”

          It is a breach of due process to restrict or punish me for something I had no part of and which I was not present in court for.

      ahad haamoratsim in reply to BobM. | March 15, 2019 at 9:53 am

      Then you’ll be happy to know that existing state law has banned private ownership of full auto weapons for decades, and that federal law for decades has made it extremely difficult or impossible even in those states that do not ban it (of which I am aware of none).

        Fiftycaltx in reply to ahad haamoratsim. | March 15, 2019 at 10:47 am

        Too bad about your ignorance. About 40 states allow Short barreled rifles, shotguns, suppressors and full auto. Anyone that can legally buy a gun of any kind can buy any of the above with the payment of a $5 or $200 tax and a 6 month or so wait. There are about 1,000,000 legal machine guns registered and upward of 5,000,000 of the other types.

          ahad haamoratsim in reply to Fiftycaltx. | March 15, 2019 at 11:35 am

          Live and learn. Arent the different types of NFA II weapons separate categories for purposes of state law? If you have a link to a list showing which states currently allow full auto weapons, I’d appreciate the education.

          As to NFA permits, it was my understanding that the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 banned new full auto weapons for civilians.That leaves items made before 1986. Isn’t the supply of those dwindling?

          tom_swift in reply to Fiftycaltx. | March 15, 2019 at 6:08 pm

          Isn’t the supply of those dwindling?

          Not so much. But the market values are going up. Fixed supply, increased demand, etc etc.

      PersonofInterests in reply to BobM. | March 15, 2019 at 11:31 am

      The banning of fully automatic firearms was put into motion because they, among others, were the weapons of choice among mobsters and bootleggers of the 1920s and 1930s, e.g., Al Capone. That is what motivated the National Firearm Act of 1934.

      And what good did it do except to provide an additional Legal Charge to bring against a mobster and bootlegger who wasn’t going to obey the 1934 National Firearms Act law anymore than those broken while bootlegging and being a mobster, e.g., gambling, prostitution, larceny, etc.

      Our Founders had a great deal of suspicion when it came to “Government” having survived the most powerful Superpower Government of the Day to win their indenpendence, i.e., Great Britain and King George III.

      The purpose in forming our Central Government was to Provide for the Common Defense; not to provide for Obamacare; a Department of Justice and “Fibbers Bureau of Insurrection”; and numerous other Extra Constitutional Departments and Agencies that we have today. Those were to have been the purview of THE STATES, but over the years,

      And given the obvious penchant of those who are supposed to be our representatives in our Federal Government to restrict our freedoms, including the Right to Bear Arms that is guaranteed as a Natural Right, NOT GRANTED AS A PRIVILEGE OF THE VERY KIND OF GOVERNMENT THAT OUR FOUNDERS FEARED AND GAVE US THE MEANS TO PROTECT OURSELVES FROM IF NEEDED, we need to be extra vigilant and pro active and reactive when what they do, displeases us. BECAUSE WHEN ELECTIONS DON’T MATTER, LAWS DON’T MATTER, AND BLACK ROBED UNELECTED POLITICIANS USURP TO POWER OF THE EXEUCTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE BRANCHES, WE ARE CUTTING CLOSE TO ANOTHER CIVIL WAR.

Non-lawyer here (duh). So this bore-assed opinion by CT Supreme Court can be appealed? To SCOTUS or some other court? Marketing argument is awful.

    OleDirtyBarrister in reply to tiger66. | March 14, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    Remington can file a petition for a writ of certiorari to SCOTUS and that court can exercise discretion to grant it or deny it now. If SCOTUS denies it, then Remington will have to litigate it in CT court and perhaps file a petition again at a later date. So Remington is at risk legally now.

    OleDirtyBarrister in reply to tiger66. | March 14, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    Remington could consider filing a motion for reconsideration or whatever it is may be called in CT with the CT court since it was a 4-3 decision, with the intent to flip one vote on reconsideration. But the lawyers for Remington may also consider it to be pointless to do so based on their experience before that court.

      Rick the Curmudgeon in reply to OleDirtyBarrister. | March 14, 2019 at 10:53 pm

      That’s my big worry; that Remington will cave and settle out of court with the plaintiffs and set a precedent.

        regulus arcturus in reply to Rick the Curmudgeon. | March 14, 2019 at 11:01 pm

        Won’t happen here – this has implications for the entire firearms industry, and that industry is extremely well-armed, legally.

          PersonofInterests in reply to regulus arcturus. | March 15, 2019 at 12:36 pm

          Never underestimate Socialists and Liberals when they OWN the Lefty Media Complex of Alphabet Networks, Tabloid Presstitutes, and Social Media Censors, and when they have been working for decades via our K-20 Education System to indoctrinate so many.

          They have an agenda and its called GUN CONFISCATION. And you can bet that they will chip away incrementally just like they have done to our Education System and Media Complex until it is common place to have 29 heavily armed Federal agents with all manner of protective gear show up at our house with THEIR automatic weapons JUST LIKE THEY DID ROGER STONE.

          Dang right we should be paying attention, taking names, and fighting because we all know that this is a thinly veiled attempt to get the Gun Confiscation Camal’s nose under the tent of our Constitution and leave us at the mercy of the very kind of situation our Founders knew over 200 years ago and that has manifested itself in all the familiar failures of Socialist, Communist, Nazi, and Fascist Governments and their tyranny.

          THERE IS NOT ONE LAW ON THE BOOKS THAT WOULD HAVE STOPPED NANCY LANZA FROM BEING IRRESPONSIBLE OR HER NUTJOB SON FROM DOING WHAT HE DID.

          You cannot legislate sanity or morality. When seconds count, the police are always minutes away, unless the School Resource Officer is a coward as we saw at Parkland.

          “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Martin Luther King, Jr. WHAT BETTER EXAMPLE THAN THE JUDGES WHO FOUND IN FAVOR OF THE PLAINTIFF IN THIS CASE.

G. de La Hoya | March 14, 2019 at 5:41 pm

Maybe bad judgements rendered should also be open to lawsuits 🙂

So I take it their legal argument is that Remington’s marketing was so powerful, it made Adam Lanza murder his mother for the privilege of holding and employing the weapons, and is therefore responsible for everything Adam Lanza subsequently did with the weapons.

So, ah… why do I have the feeling this legal theory has never been applied to any other walk of life? For instance, if someone carjacks a Ferrari and then plows into a school bus, is Ferrari legally responsible for the carjacking and the deadly crash? Etc etc etc.

    alaskabob in reply to JBourque. | March 15, 2019 at 2:13 am

    AOC asked a very similar question to Wells Fargo…. culpable by loans to build detention centers and oil pipelines?

      People are laughing that off, but I know where she gets that idea: Das Kapital. I thus show her theory the respect it deserves, no more and no less.

I think they are suing Bushmaster. Bushmaster made the gun.
Is this not correct? On what grounds would they sue Remington (see this posts headline).

Connecticut won’t win, but they can sure punish Remington anyway. Our legal system is corrupt to its very core.

    Miles in reply to stablesort. | March 14, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    That’s the whole point; ‘The process is the punishment’.

    QED those 4 justices are anti-gun but have no other way to exert their gun control fantasies than by permitting this farce to continue.

    I have not much of a doubt (and I’d bet the CT court figures it too) that this will go to the Fed courts, where the CT court will be slapped down, but not after Remington has had to fork over more $$ to their lawyers.

    And the most that can happen to those CT tyrants masquerading as justices is that they might get ‘un-elected’. Then they simply pick up by a cushy sinecure at a prestigious law firm or an ivy league university rather than a short rope and a tall lightpole.

      4fun in reply to Miles. | March 14, 2019 at 9:36 pm

      One of the tactics anti gunners employ with these frivolous lawsuits. Remington isn’t some huge rich corporation, the costs will be hefty to defend against this kind of crap. So win or lose anti gunners still make it more difficult for gun makers. I’d suggest gun makers sue the individuals for whatever they can.
      And it should be pointed out the “justices” (political hacks would be more accurate) are using the dem/anti gunner language by calling them
      “quasi-military, semiautomatic assault rifles”.
      Too bad the Ct court can’t be sued for asshattery.
      And last but not least, if this kind of lawsuit is allowed, then the people should be able to sue legislators for the ignorant talk and stupid laws. Looking at you aoc.

OleDirtyBarrister | March 14, 2019 at 6:22 pm

The contention that the Second Amendment’s intent to protect a right to sporting arms but not those that are “weapons of war” is a liberal contrivance and pure gibberish. There is no clear line because civilian arms have always been adaptable for combat purposes and vice versa, and the lowly civilian shotgun is a perfect example. The US adopted the Winchester Model 1897 pump, Model 1912 pump, and the Remington Model 11 semiauto for use in WWI for the purpose of clearing trenches and adjoining caves and doing close quarters battle. They used buckshot designed for hunting big game as ammunition.

WWI was a war in which the belligerents used chemical weapons, machine guns, long range rifles, massive artillery, tanks, hand grenades, flame throwers and many other imaginative and highly lethal devices as weapons of war in addition to the lowly pump shotgun and semiauto shotgun that had been previously used for sporting purposes by American civilians. And out of all of the weapons and destructive devices, it was the shotgun that the Germans feared and loathed and in response to which they lodged an official diplomatic protest as being unlawful under the law of land warfare because it was too harmful and inflicted injury that was greater than necessary to fight in close quarters battle. They lost and the shotgun remained in service in the US armed services in subsequent wars and remains in service today.

OleDirtyBarrister | March 14, 2019 at 6:24 pm

It is noteworthy that the CT S. Ct. justices are not elected by the voters. They are nominated and appointed with consent, but not for a life tenure, and instead for an 8-year term. They can be reappointed and confirmed or not.

They may be able to file for a writ of prohibition in Federal District Court

    As a non-lawyer, that was my first thought. Plaintiffs in state A want to sue a company who is spread through all fifty states = Federal Court, without even a second thought.

    ahad haamoratsim in reply to counsel. | March 15, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Doesn’t that require showing the state court had no subject matter jurisdiction?

From what I can see, the military has never purchased AR-15s from Colt. It has purchased M-16s, the select fire fully automatic version. How can a a weapon be a military weapon if it is not purchased and in common use by the military? Any military.

    alaskabob in reply to gospace. | March 15, 2019 at 2:08 am

    The Ruger Mini-14 has been bought by numerous militaries. The banners use cosmetics and not function as the definition. Every form of firearm has been used. The Remington 700 and Winchester 70 have seen extensive use. Heck, the British used Winchester 92 !ever actions in Naval warfare in WW1.

healthguyfsu | March 14, 2019 at 6:51 pm

I know that lots of marketing geniuses look to appeal to the lunatic fringe for profit…I’m sure they have wads of cash and make up such a large percentage of the population.

Yeesh…where’s the common sense?

The theory of liability being advanced here is so presumptuous and speculative, it’s laughable.

    ahad haamoratsim in reply to guyjones. | March 15, 2019 at 11:38 am

    If you’re on the wrong end of the theory, it’s not so laughable when you have to pay the cost of defense.

The entire opinion seems to be founded on around an assumption that advertising a firearm as suitable for “assaults” and “offensive” operations is tantamount to advertising it for illegal purposes. And that’s just absurd, as there are a million scenarios whereby one might find himself in a situation where has to use a firearm “offensively” or “assaultively” and it still be completely legal. Not just foreign invasion and social collapse, either:

* defense of others (like, say, to protect your family during a home invasion)
* escape (if you’re cornered and have to fight your way out)
* posse comitatus (where one is conscripted by a public officer such as a sheriff)

And of course there’s training for service as a police officer or soldier. In fact, that’s pretty much what was alleged here: Lanza’s mother bought him an AR-15-style rifle to inspire/prepare her son to join the military.

This decision is indefensible.

    alaskabob in reply to tk. | March 15, 2019 at 2:18 am

    We can “thank” Oregon for letting Patrick Purdy off of multiple criminal charges that allowed him to wind up in Stockton. The use of certain firearms gets the fame that leads others to use the same.

Bitterlyclinging | March 14, 2019 at 7:33 pm

Its Connecticut, a state that voted for Ned Lamont and his troop of “Bend over. Here we come again” Democrats when Lamont promised to tax the state back to prosperity. Just another state bending to the madding crowd like Florida when Florida decided it needed to sacrifice George Zimmerman to the howling black mob.

The whole of “mental health professionals” and their schools should be class actioned for inflicting all of the nutso whack jobs on the rest of us. Most of the mass shooters have histories of mental illnesses. They are put into society by shrinks with little if any supervision and everyone is so suprised that they snap and kill groups of citizens.

This was nothing more than a political decision, not a legalistic one. The court systems, across the Unite States, have ruled that a manufacturer can not be held liable simply because a person used their product carelessly, improperly or illegally. So, the Sandy Hook parents were left having using the Connecticut CUTPA statute to punish Remington Arms.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence to support the claim that Adam Lanza was somehow enticed to use that particular make and model of firearm due to Remington’s advertising. He did not specifically seek out the particular rifle over other rifle makes and types. He did not purchase the rifle. He most likely chose that particular rifle simply because it was accessible to him. He obtained it through theft and the murder of his mother. And, when he arrived at the school, he was in possession of other firearms, which were similar type firearms to the Bushmaster rifle and not manufactured by Remington. There is no real case here. It is an entirely frivolous lawsuit, designed to punish a product manufacturer for the illegal use of one of its products.

So, the lower court cites the existence of the PLCAA as grounds to throw out the case. This was correct, though it avoided the merits of the case. Now, the SCOC twisted itself into a linguistic pretzel in an attempt to reinstate the suit. And, this was done for strictly ideological political purposes.

    txvet2 in reply to Mac45. | March 14, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    “It is an entirely frivolous lawsuit, designed to punish a product manufacturer for the illegal use of one of its products.”

    Exactly – with the intent to eventually extend this to all manufacturers, and with the end goal to institute gun control by simply putting the gun companies out of business. Just because it’s not currently likely to succeed doesn’t mean that it won’t continue to be the long term goal.

      Concise in reply to txvet2. | March 15, 2019 at 12:49 pm

      Uh, so Remington now must go to trial, settle or file for cert., which may or may not be granted but certainly won’t happen overnight. In the meantime the company must endure the time and expense of litigation that never should be happening because federal law clearly shields them from this “novel” suit. Sounds like a present victory for gun control, not a long term goal.

    PersonofInterests in reply to Mac45. | March 15, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    The expose of material published in The Courant Newspaper of CT after their 5 year legal action via a FOIA request was finally approved, should have been enough for any reasonable person to conclude that THIS SHOOTER WAS A NUT AND HIS MOTHER, ASIDE FROM BEING TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE, MAY HAVE BEEN ONE TOO. No reasonable person does what she did, which was akin to putting a box of matches into the hands of a son fascinated by fires.

    Of course, Nancy Lanza paid the ultimate price for her stupid and irresponsible behavior, lawfully buying the gun and the ammo, to take her Nutjob Son to the range to learn how to use it while he spent most of his day playing Violent Video Games and writing crazy stuff; and then, left it unlocked for him to access without parental approval. Who does that??

    BUT WHAT HAS NOT BEEN REVEALED INSOFAR AS I KNOW, IS WHETHER OR NOT SHE MADE APPLICATION TO THE STATE OF CT TO HAVE HER SON COMMITTED, OFFICIALS DRAGGED OUT THE PROCESS WITHOUT A DECISION, AND HE FOUND OUT TO GET TRIGGERED (NO PUN INTENDED) TO GET REVENGE FOR WHAT HE MAY THOUGH TO BE A “BETRAYAL.”

    What may have been the roles of others inside Connecticut, including Doctors, School Officials where he attended, and a State/Local overnment that is ALWAYS slow or willfully reluctant to reveal their responsibility as enablers.

Looking forward to filing suit against Ben & Jerry’s for all the medical expenses associated with my weight problems.

This case and ruling seem to be based on an extreme assumption that masculinity is toxic and nothing but toxic. What is being charged as reckless is a bare appeal to masculinity: “an AR15 is a masculine thing” (never mind that girls like them a lot thanks to their pipsqueak cartridge).

“Man card” is a little cheesy but the idea that appealing to masculinity per se is an appeal to mass murder is something from the fever pits of radical leftist lesbian “feminism.”

I will admit to questioning a little bit the masculinity of any man who feels no desire or obligation to be prepared to be of help should violent threats to self or others ever arise. This USED to be the first duty of citizenship and it was the law of the land in most states, not only that citizens were obligated to own what arms they could afford but that all were required to participate in the “hue snd cry”: to help to apprehend suspected criminals should an alarm be raised.

Does the common idiocy of thinking that the police can protect you (when their actual job is only to clean up the mess) mark a man as having “given up his man card”? Maybe. Seems like a strange way to try to APPEAL to gun buyers (“hey eunich!”), but the implied substance is perfectly moral and law abiding, while the current case rests on an opposite assumption.

Kind of like suing a car manufacturer for pitching a model of car as especially girly after a woman uses one to commit a girly crime like running over an ex-boyfriend. How does one appeal to femininity without appealing to toxic femininity (to whatever bad sides there may be to femininity)? But there can’t be anything wrong with appealing to either masculinity or femininity in itself.

This decision is not only illogically assinine but a non-starter as well. I can not imagine for a minute that SCOTUS will buy this lunacy.

Lawyers going after car makers is way on down the road and it can be argued that they are not exactly the same as guns (that that I believe it, just that an argument can be made).

You want the next victim? I give you anyone who makes alcoholic beverages. Where the sole purpose of the product is to get drunk/intoxicated.

Colorado Patriot | March 16, 2019 at 12:56 am

A O C must sit on that court… what a crock.

Colorado Patriot | March 16, 2019 at 12:56 am

A O C must sit on that court… what a crock.

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