Gunmaker subpoena the school records of 9 killed Sandy Hook students and educators; families want records sealed

NEWTOWN – A gunmaker sued by nine families who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook shooting has subpoenaed the school, attendance and disciplinary records of five children killed that day. The summons included requests for school records from four educators who were killed.

Lawyers for these nine families came to court on Thursday to seal the confidential files of the five children killed and the four educators killed requested by the bankrupt Remington company.

“We have no explanation as to why Remington subpoenaed the Newtown Public School District to obtain the kindergarten and first grade academic, attendance and disciplinary records of these five school children,” said the Senior family attorney Josh Koskoff after filing a motion to vary the state Superior Court’s protection order in Waterbury. “The records cannot excuse Remington’s blatant marketing conduct, nor be of any help in estimating the catastrophic damage in this matter. The only relevant part of their attendance records is that they were at their office on December 14, 2012. “

December 14, 2012 was the day a 20-year-old gunman took his mother’s AR-15 style rifle from an unlocked closet and made his way through a locked Sandy Hook elementary school, killing 20 students first year students and six educators.

Nine families who have lost loved ones sued Remington for wrongful death, claiming the once powerful arms maker recklessly marketed a military-grade weapon to civilians. Remington argued that he made a legal gun that was legally sold to the shooter’s mother, and that it was the shooter who was responsible for the worst crime in Connecticut history.

In 2016, a state Superior Court judge agreed that Remington was protected by federal law that shields the gun industry from most liability when its products are misused. In 2019, the state Supreme Court ruled that the families had grounds to pursue illegal business action under Connecticut’s Unfair Business Practices Act. Later that year, the United States Supreme Court returned the case to the lower court, refusing to reconsider it.

Remington has since been dissolved in bankruptcy court and four insurance companies have taken on the defense of the former company.

The battle to keep the private records of the nine Sandy Hook victims confidential comes as both sides prepare for trial in the most high-profile trial of its kind in the country. The lawsuit made national headlines last July, when two of Remington’s four insurance companies proposed each of the nine families a settlement of $ 3.6 million. The families have not yet responded.

A week before this surprise partial settlement offer, Remington raised his eyebrows when accused of handing over 18,000 “random cartoons” and 15,000 irrelevant photos of people karting and mountain biking in as part of his pre-trial data requested by the families.

On Thursday Koskoff accused Remington of crossing the line.

“There is no conceivable way that” application and admission documents, attendance records, transcripts, report cards, [and] disciplinary records, “to name just some of the things sought by the subpoena, will help Remington in his defense, and the (families) do not understand why Remington would invade families’ privacy with such a request,” Koskoff wrote in a statement. motion tabled Thursday. “We have never seen any summons directed against the school records of first graders, let alone the children’s ‘attendance records’ or ‘disciplinary records’.

Newtown Schools Superintendent Lorrie Rodrigue was not immediately available for comment.

A copy of Remington’s mid-July subpoenas was submitted Thursday along with the families’ motion.

Lawyers for the families have called on the judge to remove “Remington’s proprietary information protections which are now obsolete.”

The reason: Remington no longer exists as a company.

“Remington’s attorney recently conceded: ‘Remington no longer has any ownership interest in these documents because Remington no longer exists.’ Koskoff writes in the families’ motion. “The lawyer is right that Remington no longer has the right to claim the confidentiality of the documents he has produced or will produce. “

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