CONNECTICUT: State Supreme Court Clears Way For Sandy Hook Parents To Sue Gun Maker And Sellers

The New York Times reports:

The Connecticut Supreme Court dealt a major blow to the firearms industry on Thursday, clearing the way for a lawsuit to move forward against the companies that manufactured and sold the semiautomatic rifle used by the gunman in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The ruling allows the lawsuit brought by victims’ relatives to go to trial, which could force gun companies to turn over internal communications that they have fiercely fought to keep private and provide a revealing — and possibly damaging — glimpse into how the industry operates.

The Danbury News-Times reports:

In January 2015, the families of 10 Sandy Hook victims filed the suit against the gunmaker, Remington Outdoor Co.; the dealer, CamfourInc. and the company that owned the gun store, Riverview Sales, where Adam Lanza’s mother bought the assault rifle he used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School slayings.

They claimed the gunmaker and sellers knew civilians were unfit to operate the assault rifle, and yet they continued selling it. The lawsuit sought to use a small window for holding companies accountable, including instances of so-called negligent entrustment, in which a gun is carelessly given or sold to a person posing a high risk of misusing it.

The Hartford Courant reports:

Legal experts said the case will come down to how the state Supreme Court will interpret two possible exceptions allowed under the arms act — whether Remington can be held liable for so-called “negligent entrustment” or whether it violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Negligent entrustment is defined as “supplying of a qualified product by a seller for use by another person when the seller knows, or reasonably should know, the person to whom the product is supplied is likely to, and does, use the product in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical injury to the person or others.”

The NRA was among the right wing groups that filed briefs against the suit when it was first filed. The families are also suing Alex Jones for defamation in a separate action.