Sandy Hook families reach historic settlement with gunmaker Remington

The settlement with the maker of the rifle used in the 2012 elementary school massacre marks the first time a gun manufacturer has been held liable in a U.S. mass shooting.

White roses with the faces of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting are attached to a telephone pole near the school on the one-month anniversary of the 2012 shooting that left 26 dead in Newtown, Conn. Jessica Hill / AP

Relatives of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have reached a historic settlement with Remington, the maker of the rifle used in the massacre, according to court documents.

It is the first time a gun manufacturer has been held liable for a mass shooting in the United States.

The settlement comes after a protracted legal battle over how the gunmaker marketed its firearm. The dollar amount of the settlement was not immediately known.

A Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle was used in the December 2012 killings of 20 first graders and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut. The gunman fatally shot his mother before the elementary school rampage, then killed himself.

In their lawsuit against Remington, which has since filed for bankruptcy, families of the victims argued that the firearm maker irresponsibly marketed the weapon to at-risk young men such as the Sandy Hook shooter through product placement in violent video games.

Remington, based in Madison, North Carolina, has denied the allegations in the lawsuit.

In a press conference Tuesday morning, attorney for the families, Joshua Koskoff, opened by displaying photos of the victims and described details about the final days of their lives: the Christmas music that teacher Victoria Soto would listen to on her drive into work; the favorite diner breakfast that first-grader Jesse Lewis loved to eat; the Hanukkah candles that six-year-old Noah Pozner proudly lit for the first time.

Last July, attorneys for Remington offered nearly $33 million to the families to settle the suit. At the time, Joshua Koskoff praised Remington’s insurers for their offer.

They “deserve credit for now realizing that promoting the use of AR-15s as weapons of war to civilians is indefensible. Insuring this kind of conduct is an unprofitable and untenable business model,” he said in a statement, The Associated Press reported.

The path to reaching a settlement has been complicated, with the lawsuit making its way through the state Supreme Court after Remington argued it should be shielded under a federal law designed to prevent gun manufacturers from being held liable for crimes in which their guns were used. In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would allow the suit to go forward.

In September, a couple months after presenting its settlement offer, Remington subpoenaed school records of children and educators killed in the massacre.


Attorneys for the families immediately moved to seal the records.

“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 schoolchildren,” Koskoff said, The Connecticut Post reported. “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.”

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