Remington Arms Co. has offered to pay nine Sandy Hook Elementary School families $3.66 million each to settle lawsuits that claimed the gunmaker’s marketing contributed to the 2012 massacre in Newtown that killed 26 people.
Documents filed in Superior Court in Waterbury state that Remington is offering to “to settle all claims inclusive of any fees and costs on behalf of all Defendants.” The offer, which totals nearly $33 million, is the first settlement offer from the manufacturer of the gun used to kill 20 school children.
Josh Koskoff, a lawyer for the families, said the offer was from two of the four insurance companies that did business with Remington, which is bankrupt. He praised two of the insurers, Ironshore and James River, “for now realizing that promoting the use of AR-15s as weapons of war to civilians is indefensible”
“Since this case was filed in 2014, the families’ focus has been on preventing the next Sandy Hook. An important part of that goal has been showing banks and insurers that companies that sell assault weapons to civilians are fraught with financial risk,’’ Koskoff said in a statement.
“Insuring this kind of conduct is an unprofitable and untenable business model. It appears that the other two insurance companies involved — Chubb and Swiss Re — have yet to learn that lesson and continue to stand firmly behind dangerous marketing and against the families. The families will consider their next steps,’’ Koskoff said.
Spokespeople for Remington and the insurance companies were not immediately available for comment Tuesday evening.
The Sandy Hook families have sought to prove that Remington violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act by marketing what it knew was a weapon designed for military use to civilians such as Nancy and Adam Lanza.
Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster AR-15 to kill 26 people, including 20 first graders inside the Sandy Hook School on Dec. 14, 2012. He fired 156 rounds in under five minutes before using a handgun to then kill himself.
Nine families of victims, plus a teacher who was injured and an FBI agent who responded to the shooting originally filed the lawsuit in 2015.
The Sandy Hook families have said they filed the lawsuit in hopes of getting Remington to reveal internal documents on how the gun companies have marketed the AR-15, which has become the weapon frequently used by mass shooters. The gun manufacturers have closely guarded information on how they market the weapons.
“All we have ever wanted is to peel back the layers of this corporate entity Remington so we can find out what their goals were and objectives were in the marketing of this product,” William Sherlach, whose wife Mary Sherlach, the school psychologist, was killed by Lanza, said in 2019.
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