Sandy Hook families can access Remington documents, judge says

Sandy Hook families had another victory in their case against Remington Outdoor Company as a state judge denied a motion to delay the discovery process, which would force the company to turn over internal documents.

In the ruling, Judge Barbara Bellis said she denied the motion because a stay in discovery would have lasted through October and that would translate into a delay in trial, which was scheduled for April 2018.

“The court is unwilling to consider (Remington’s motion) given the fact that the case was filed in January of 2015. The motions to stay discovery are therefore denied,” the ruling stated.

Last month, Bellis ordered the discovery process begin immediately, so the defendants would have to make their executives available for depositions and share internal documents such as marketing strategies, communications and other materials concerning the case.

“For almost a year and a half the families have waited patiently. They have waited and watched as the defendants tried every tactic to avoid having to disclose a single document or answer a single question under oath. Now that wait is officially over,” said Josh Koskoff, one of the lawyers representing the families, in a statement issued to Guns.com.

While the Sandy Hook families have had success in advancing the case, Remington has been less successful in its efforts to outright dismiss it.

Bellis denied Remington’s motion to dismiss last month citing procedural issues. She identified striking details from the complaint as more appropriate for the jurisdiction than dismissing it. So, in response, the company repackaged the same arguments but in a motion to strike. A hearing for arguments to strike is scheduled for June 20.

The case was filed by nine families of victims killed or injured against Bushmaster Firearms, the maker of the rifle used by the gunman, and its parent company Remington. The distributor of the rifle and former Connecticut store that sold it were also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

The families have presented the argument that the rifle, an AR-15, is too dangerous to be sold to civilians and that the defendants knew that, which is why they market the weapon as fit for war. According to details from the investigation into the incident, the shooter fired 154 rounds in less than five minutes to kill 20 first-graders and six educators at the Newtown school.

The complaint highlighted language used by Bushmaster to market its products to a civilian market. At one point before the shooting, Bushmaster used phrases like “military-proven performance,” “the ultimate combat weapons system,” and “Forces of opposition, bow down. You are single-handedly outnumbered” in its advertisements.

When the case was filed in December 2014, many legal experts speculated that it was unwinnable because of the physical and regulatory disconnect between the manufacturer of the firearm used in the incident and the shooter, but including the current decision, the case has overcome major legal hurdles.

A a month into the case, Remington pushed it to federal court where the company sought protections under Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. But by October, the case was kicked back in state court.