The Connecticut Supreme Court announced Wednesday that it will hear arguments en banc Nov. 14 for a lawsuit looking to hold gun makers liable for the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.
Attorneys representing several families of those killed and injured in the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School claim the AR-15 rifle used should be restricted to the military and law enforcement. While the families maintain Remington is selling a weapon “without regard for its track record in facilitating mass murder,” the gun maker said the plaintiffs are trying to “demonize the rifle.”
Adam Lanza mowed down 20 schoolchildren and six educators at the school.
The state’s high court recently granted the families’ request to hear arguments en banc, even though it’s short two justices. A full bench of seven justices will hear the case.
Justice Dennis Eveleigh stepped down after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 earlier this month. There’s also a vacancy left by Justice Carmen Espinosa, who took senior status in July.
Gov. Dannel Malloy recently nominated Appellate Judges Maria Kahn and Raheem Mullins to replaced Eveleigh and Espinosa. Those nominations are pending before the Legislature.
In addition, Chief Justice Chase Rogers is not available to sit Nov. 14 and Justice Gregory D’Auria recused himself from the discussions. It’s not clear why Rogers isn’t available that day or why D’Auria recused. In addition to the four other justices on the bench, hearing the arguments Nov. 14 will be Mullins and Appellate Court Justices Bethany Alvord and Nina Elgo.
The crux of the families’ case relies on negligent entrustment and a claim that the gun makers knew their product is dangerous, but sold it anyway. Negligent entrustment occurs when one party provides a product to another while knowing the receiving party is likely to injure someone.
The state’s high court must decide whether to remand the case back to Bridgeport Superior Court to allow the families to continue their discovery after the case was dismissed last year.
To date, 13 amicus briefs have been filed on behalf of 19 entities on both sides.