BRIDGEPORT, CT (May 6, 2016) — In the lawsuit brought against the gun manufacturer that produced the semiautomatic weapon used in the December 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting, a judge has ruled against the defendants’ efforts to delay the discovery process.
Through the discovery process, the plaintiffs will obtain information from the defendants to prepare the plaintiffs’ case for a trial of the wrongful death lawsuit.
On May 5 in Superior Court, Judge Barbara Bellis restated her April ruling in the case, which allowed the lawsuit to proceed in court and allowed the discovery process to start.
The defendants had sought to have the judge temporarily delay that April order.
Consequently, the gun companies are required to make their executives available to the plaintiffs for sworn depositions and also to share their internal documents on gun marketing and related topics.
In her May 5 order, Judge Bellis wrote, “Given the April 3, 2018, trial [start] date, even a temporary stay of discovery through October of 2016, would translate into a delay of the trial, which the court is unwilling to consider given the fact that the case was filed in January of 2015.”
In a statement, attorney Joshua Koskoff, who is one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, said of Judge Bellis’s May 5 decision, “For almost a year and a half the families have waited patiently. They have waited and watched as the defendants tried every tactic to avoid having to disclose a single document or answer a single question under oath. Now that wait is officially over.”
In April, Judge Bellis ruled that a 2005 federal law that protects gun manufacturers from lawsuits, known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), and also a state law known as the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), do not prevent the attorneys for the plaintiffs from arguing that the semiautomatic rifle is a military weapon that is not suitable for sale to civilians.
On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed 20 first grade students and six educators with a Bushmaster XM15-E2S, rifle which his mother had legally purchased. Earlier that day, Lanza murdered his mother at their Sandy Hook home with another gun before going to the school. Lanza killed himself at the school after police arrived.
The ten plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the families of nine people who were killed in the school massacre and also one teacher who survived.
Remington Arms, the parent company of Bushmaster Firearms, which made the weapon used in the school shooting, is a defendant, among several other gun-related firms.
Lawyers for Remington Arms and other defendants had sought to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the PLCAA federal law shields gun manufacturers from liability on such lawsuits.