Some of the parents of the children who were killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary are set to sue Bushmaster, the company that made the AR-15 assault rifle used by gunman Adam Lanza to shoot dead 20 children and six adult staff at the school in December 2012.
The court documents state: “There is one tragically predictable civilian activity in which the AR-15 reigns supreme: mass shootings. Time and again, mentally-unstable individuals and criminals have acquired the AR-15 with ease and they have unleashed the rifle’s lethal power into our streets.”
The parents are working with Michael Koskoff, a lawyer who represented pop-star Michael Jackson’s family in a $1.5 billion wrongful death lawsuit. They’re also partnering with Karen Hinton, a Democratic party lobbyist who specializes in taking on major corporations and who has been described as a “public relations guru” by New York governor Andrew Cuomo
The Names of the Dead
The parents of at least 13 of the 20 children killed in the mass school shooting — the second-deadliest on record in the U.S. — have opened estates in their names at a probate court. This is the first step in filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Eleven of those parents have indicated they will proceed with litigation.
Estates were opened with notifications of wrongful death claims for Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Braden, Dylan Hockley, Jesse Lewis, Ana Marquez-Greene, James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner and Jessica Rekos.
Sunday marked the two-year anniversary of the atrocity. It’s also the legal deadline to file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court over the incident. There are some circumstances in which a lawsuit against a private company — like a gun manufacturer — could be filed within three years, but that statute deals primarily with product liability in this case.
If they are assigned to the case, Koskoff and Hinton represent major-league talent for the victims’ families. Koskoff is a partner in Connecticut law firm Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder. Three years ago they represented Michael Jackson’s family in an unsuccessful action against huge promotion firm AEG Live. They were slated to promote a tour Jackson was rehearsing for when he died suddenly in 2009.
Karen Hinton brings a similar level of high-octane clout. She worked for New York governor Andrew Cuomo when he was the housing secretary in the Clinton administration. She is married to Howard Glaser, one of Cuomo’s most-trusted aides. She says in her Twitter profile that she is “taking on big oil, big banks & other bullies”. She’s represented Ecuadorian villagers in a long-running dispute with oil giant Chevron.
The defendants in the lawsuit have yet to comment.