HARTFORD, Connecticut (AP) – Gun maker Remington has moved a lawsuit filed against it by families of those shot in the Sandy Hook school massacre from state to federal court, where at least one expert says it has less chance of succeeding.
Nine families sued Remington and others in Bridgeport Superior Court in December arguing the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the shooting should not have been sold for civilian use because of its overwhelming firepower. A 10th family joined the lawsuit adding a wrongful death claim.
The case was placed before US District Judge Robert Chatigny last week after Remington argued that since they are located in North Carolina and not Connecticut, federal court was a more proper jurisdiction.
Timothy Lytton, a professor at the Albany Law School who has written extensively about suing the gun industry, said getting the case into the 2nd US Circuit, of which Connecticut is a part, is a victory for the defendants.
“The 2nd Circuit has previously refused to hold gun manufacturers liable or permit lawsuits against gun manufacturers for injuries caused by third parties,” he said. “It has a history of knocking these types of cases down.”
A 2005 federal law shields gun manufacturers from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products, but it does include an exception for cases where companies should know a weapon is likely to be used in a way that risks injury to others.