What’s going on here?

This is an elaboration of a comment I posted on Paul Barrett’s article about the inevitable failure of the lawsuit against Bushmaster in regards to the Sandy Hook tragedy. Barrett went to law school and has more than casual acquaintance with firearm law. I share his certainty it will fail.

I would have expected most reputable lawyers would have redirected the parents of children murdered at Sandy Hook to counseling rather than to pursue a hopeless lawsuit against the manufacture of a gun. I can understand the pain and even a need to “do something” but a lawyer who did any research at all, let alone gave it a few minutes of thought, should have concluded such a lawsuit is doomed to failure and deepening anguish for the parents.

I initially hypothesized the lawyer involved was someone desperate for money and at least momentary fame. But it is a law firm with a history that goes back 75+ years (via an article on CNN Money).

It’s possible they are short on money and with nine parents backing the lawsuit they may be able to bill (bilk?) them for perhaps a much as a million dollars. But will losing such a high profile case be to their benefit in the fame department? It’s been said many times that there is no such thing as bad publicity but that is usually in a much different context. When winning is what matters to your customers you don’t want to be well-known as a loser.

Lawyer David Hardy says, “I really can’t see it as filed in good faith.”

So I’m perplexed by this. Are the lawyers in this firm so ignorant of gun law (Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act), proximate causation precedent, and blinded by emotions that they think they have a chance “because GUN!!!”?


26 thoughts on “What’s going on here?

  1. Anti-gun sentiment is so ingrained in people, so illogically illogical that those who suffer from it are blinded by anything but their desire to see the human right to self defense eradicated.

    They become like Kamikaze in their quests.

  2. Well if they aren’t doing it pro bono and the parents don’t have enough money then who if footing the bill?

  3. My first though is that the organized anti-rights movement will be funding this lawsuit, one way or another, and that the objective is not to win the suit but to force the defendant to expend resources, and to further intimidate gun makers and dealers in general. Even if all involved know ahead of time that the suit itself will certainly fail, there are still reasons for pushing it, all involving that well-known and very useful “chilling effect”.

    • That was my thought, too. That, and an eventual fund-raising point for future e-mail campaigns from the “gun control” groups.

      It’s a win-win for them. If they win, it’s another notch in their belt and more “proof” that “gun control” isn’t a dead issue. If they lose…

      “We lost this lawsuit on behalf of the grieving parents of gun violence victims because Congress wouldn’t act to hold gun makers accountable. Send us money so we can send Congress a message.”

      That kind of thing.

  4. (quoting my comment on the original article)
    Maybe they are hoping that the defendants will roll over. Since they are parts of a conglomerate blob, that may happen. Consider how Smith & Wesson, back when they were owned by some random British group, did just that some years ago.
    I’m hoping the executives in question have better judgment than that, but I’m a bit worried.

    • Another angle: I wonder if the manufacturer has liability insurance. If so, all the lawyers need is for the insurance company to roll over, which is usually a very easy thing to achieve.
      Some companies don’t carry insurance for just that reason. I know of one (a manufacturer of skydiving equipment) that has “uninsured” as part of its official corporate name.

      • Stop me if I’m wrong – corporate or insurance lawyers feel free to chime in – but is this one reason companies register as “Limited Liability Companies”, or LLCs?

        Or am I way, way off?

        • IANAL, but I think that’s not directly related. LLC means that the corporation and its owners are separate, so the owners personally are not financially liable for the debts of the corporation. But the corporation is liable for its debts (give or take bankruptcy), so it can be sued and taken for all it owns (but not for what the owners, privately, own).

    • “Maybe they are hoping that the defendants will roll over.”

      Prior to the PLCAA, I could see that happening – IANAL, but no matter how much evidence there is that they did nothing wrong, I certainly wouldn’t want to take this in front of a jury when the other side has so many dead children and grieving parents to wave around. But I don’t see how this could even survive a preliminary motion to dismiss, much less get to an actual trial, unless the lawyers have their judge-shopping all lined up already.

  5. A side benefit is to show people in the legal profession that, similar to working in the race grievance industry, there is money to be made filing harassment suits against gun makers.

    Paul has a good point; anyone can own a gun manufactory. What a deliciously evil thing it would be to buy out a gun company and then have your friends, soul mates and associates sue it and milk it to death.

  6. Agree with Lyle, probably being funded by the anti’s, which means Bloomberg’s money.

    My guess is the point of the lawsuit is the spectacle. File lawsuit and send out a bunch of press releases emphasizing the Newtown victims. When the lawsuit is inevitably dismissed, send out more press releases blaming the NRA etc. for Justice Not Being Served or whatever.

    The lawsuit itself isn’t the ends, just a means of battle space prep for the next round.


  7. I’ve very rarely seen ‘professional’ people do things for just one reason. I see it as the combination of what Rob, Lyle and Paul have posted;
    Politicking and perhaps Freedom group settling out of court because the counters of the sacred beans say to.

  8. I think automobile manufacturers ought to fiie amici briefs. And Segrams. Why should expanded liability for the misdeeds of another stop at guns?

  9. The firm is a bunch of ambulance chasers. They brag about getting 6 out of the 10 biggest personal injury awards in the State of Connecticut. Joel Koskoff was cited in CT Lawyer for pushing new interpretations of the law. I think he wants to make his bones within the firm with this lawsuit like dad and granddad.

  10. For the “no one wants to take your guns” thread, a recent comment on that article:
    Steve • 2 hours ago
    Yep. Guns and ammunition need to be regulated on performance and capacity and not styling cues. Limiting weapons to single shot breach loaders would keep the second amendment happy (and save a bunch of lives).

    • Thanks. It’s currently scheduled for QOTD on Sunday but I may move it out further because I have some other stuff I would rather post sooner if I get around to writing it up.

  11. “The school-shooting victims argue that the AR-15 and similar weapons derived from the military’s basic M-16 rifle”

    I love it when they’re historically, factually wrong, right out of the gate.

    • Um, ok, I’m a firearms novice, but I thought that the AR-15 is “a semi-auto version of the M-16”. True? If so, then “derived from” seems a reasonable statement.
      There are lots of factual arguments that seem more compelling, such as “this is a low power rifle compared to an average hunting rifle”, or “yes, it is well suited for self-defense”, or “but the 2nd Amendment does most definitely protect the right to own military-style weapons”, etc.

  12. Pingback: Why just the gun manufacturer? | The View From North Central Idaho

  13. Folks,

    The Sandy Hook charities received tens of millions of dollars in donations and support. Plenty big enough to make a lawyer salivate.

    While the legal basis for this suit is dubious, all they need is one judge to make a dumb ruling to advance their agenda to a higher court.

    And not every victim’s parents agree with this lawsuit. I heard that right from the horse’s mouth.

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