The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Gunmaker subpoenas records of 9 slain Sandy Hook students, educators

- By Rob Ryser

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

Lawyers for those nine families moved in court Thursday to seal those confidenti­al records of the five slain children and four slain educators because requested by the bankrupted Remington company.

“We have no explanatio­n for 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 families’ lead attorney, Josh Koskoff, after filing a motion to change the protection order in state Superior Court in Waterbury. “The records cannot possibly excuse Remington’s egregious marketing conduct, or be of any assistance in estimating the catastroph­ic damages in this case. The only relevant part of their attendance records is that they were at their desks on December 14, 2012.”

Dec. 14, 2012, was the day a 20-year-old gunman took his mother’s AR-15-style rifle from an unlocked closet and shot his way into a locked Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 first-graders and six educators.

Nine families who lost loved ones sued Remington for wrongful death, claiming the once-powerful gunmaker recklessly marketed a military-grade gun to civilians. Remington argued that it manufactur­ed a legal firearm that was sold lawfully to the gunman’s mother, and that it was the gunman who was responsibl­e for the worst crime in Connecticu­t history.

In 2016, a state Superior

Court judge agreed that Remington was protected under a federal law that shields the gun industry from most liability when its products are misused. In 2019, the state Supreme Court ruled the families had grounds to pursue an unlawful marketing claim under Connecticu­t’s Unfair Trade Practices Act. Later that year, the United States Supreme Court sent the case back to trial court by refusing to review it.

Since them, Remington has been dissolved in bankruptcy court, and four insurance companies have taken over the former company’s defense.

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