Remington Settles Lawsuit With Sandy Hook Families
On February 15, 2022, families representing 9 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting settled their lawsuit with Remington. We are grateful both sides were able to come to a mutual settlement agreement. But, what does the settlement mean? Who does it benefit?
This Settlement Isn’t About Gun Control
Both sides of the gun control debate are likely to get riled up by the headlines. But, when you dig deeper into the details of the settlement you realize this case isn’t about gun control. It never has been. To be sure, this settlement news is causing a huge, ripple effect in the industry. But, it is unlikely to change any laws on gun control.
Can Gun Makers Be Held Responsible For Mass Shootings?
This is an important question. Can a gunmaker like Remington actually be held legally responsible for an intentional shooting? There is no clear and universal answer. Technically, Remington does not admit liability and claims the settlement is just to end the legal battle.
Previous Settlement Offers Declined
Remington tried to settle the lawsuit with the Sandy Hook families before. But, the families declined at the time stating they wanted more evidence made public. While a trial would have exposed even more evidence, it’s likely the families were satisfied they had the evidence they wanted.
Remington’s Lawyers Mocked The Victims
At nearly every step, lawyers for Remington were difficult and very dismissive of the company’s role in the Sandy Hook shooting. Remington’s lawyers proved early on that they were going to make the lawsuit as difficult as possible. But, that lack of compassion for the families shows one very important thing.
Gun Makers Don’t Care About You
Gunmakers exist to make and sell guns. Some companies don’t care about anything other than profits. Selling guns to hunters and people interested in self-defense wasn’t enough. Remington found a new market, young males that weren’t interested in hunting or self-defense. The Violence Policy Center put together an eye-opening report about marketing to the “tactical market.”
Marketing documents from Remington show a desire to sell guns to inexperienced people with no interest in hunting or self-defense. Remington targeted young, insecure males to sell them guns. But, the marketing focused on those insecurities.
Attorneys For Sandy Hook Families
A lot of credit has to go to the legal team willing to take on this “unwinnable case” to represent these families. This legal team took a case against the seemingly untouchable industry and really investigated and fought to prove the company involved is responsible.
Sandy Hook Settlement Is Important
Legally, this is more important than just the settlement announcement. While the settlement avoids a court ruling, it does set some important groundwork for others to follow. In different ways, this settlement benefits both sides involved.
How Does Remington Benefit?
You might think Remington paid this settlement to end the ongoing legal expenses. Like, somehow, it is cheaper to pay $73 million instead of proving the company did nothing wrong. While there is a little truth to this idea, the complete truth is a little different.
First, Remington didn’t pay the $73 million to the families. In fact, Remington didn’t make the decision to settle this claim. Remington is bankrupt and has been since 2020. The insurance company representing Remington decided to pay the settlement. And, $73 million represents the maximum amount of coverage Remington has on this insurance policy.
Second, and maybe most importantly, is the unreleased evidence. The families were building their legal case on the unethical marketing of the assault rifle used in the Sandy Hook shooting. The legal team had marketing materials, but on February 17th Remington was required to turn over large amounts of internal documents. By settling the case on February 15th, Remington was not required to release the internal documents to the Sandy Hook families.
Do The Sandy Hook Families Benefit?
No amount of money can ever bring back a loved one. The lives taken at Sandy Hook Elementary School can not be replaced. Money doesn’t fix this. But, the settlement allows the families to end this decade-long battle.
Sandy Hook Families End Legal Battle
The families didn’t give up. In fact, they proved it is possible to successfully hold gun makers accountable for a mass shooting. For nearly 10 years, the families have endured an uphill battle. While the case was on track to be heard by a jury, we haven’t seen a case like this really test the PLCAA. With this successful groundwork and the evidence released, we are likely to see some similar cases. But, every situation is different.
Unethical Marketing Of Firearms
The Sandy Hook families’ lawsuit focused on unethical and deceptive marketing that targeted insecure young males. A provision of the PLCAA allows civil claims when gun manufacturers violate state laws. The Connecticut state laws Remington allegedly violated involve false or deceptive marketing practices.
Marketing for Remington assault rifles included first-person shooter videogames, websites, and marketing messages geared toward military violence and masculinity. The marketing also allegedly targeted young men. Guns combined with violent marketing messages generate a product appeal and interest for the wrong reasons.
Legal Options For Victims Of Gun Violence
The PLCAA has long shielded the firearms industry from civil lawsuits. In fact, it still does offer a lot of protections from civil lawsuits against gun manufacturers. Yet, cases like this open the door just a little bit. If you are the victim of intentional gun violence, or you have lost a loved one to gun violence, you may have legal options.
No amount of money can bring back a lost loved one, or heal the hurt. But cases like this can punish gunmakers and force them to change. Lawsuits like this can help stop intentional gun violence on children and defenseless people.
Lancaster Injury Law Firm
If you have questions or need legal help with an injury claim, we are here to help with a free and confidential consultation. You don’t pay us anything until we recover money for you. Contact us today to schedule your legal consultation.