Sandy Hook families reach $73 million settlement with gun manufacturer Remington

By Sarah Jorgensen, Jason Hanna and Erica Hill, CNN

    (CNN) -- The families of five children and four adults killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have reached a $73 million settlement with the now-bankrupt gun manufacturer Remington and its four insurers, the plaintiffs' attorneys said Tuesday.

The settlement comes more than seven years after the families filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Remington, the manufacturer of the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used in the massacre that left 20 children and six adults dead in Newtown, Connecticut.

The families have also "obtained and can make public thousands of pages of internal company documents that prove Remington's wrongdoing and carry important lessons for helping to prevent future mass shootings," the plaintiffs' attorneys said in a news release.

"These nine families have shared a single goal from the very beginning: to do whatever they could to help prevent the next Sandy Hook. It is hard to imagine an outcome that better accomplishes that goal," plaintiffs' attorney Josh Koskoff said.

"This victory should serve as a wake-up call not only to the gun industry, but also the insurance and banking companies that prop it up," Koskoff said.

The families sued Remington in 2014, alleging it should be held partially responsible for the shooting because of its marketing strategy. A 2005 federal law protects many gun manufacturers from wrongful death lawsuits brought by family members -- but the marketing argument was a new approach.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs contended that the company marketed rifles by extolling the militaristic qualities of the rifle and reinforcing the image of a combat weapon -- in violation of a Connecticut law that prevents deceptive marketing practices.

The US Supreme Court in 2019 decided not to take up an appeal by Remington, effectively allowing the suit to move forward.

The $73 million settlement is all of the available coverage that Remington's insurance carriers could pay. Last summer, Remington approached the families with a nearly $33 million settlement offer. At the time, lawyers for the families said they would consider their next steps.

The families did not accept the earlier proposal "because they wanted to ensure they had obtained enough documents and taken enough depositions to prove Remington's misconduct" and to "to ensure the case's message to the insurance industry was clear," Tuesday's news release reads.

Lenny Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, whose son Noah was killed in the shooting, said their loss is "irreversible, and in that sense, this outcome is neither redemptive nor restorative."

"One moment we had this dazzling, energetic 6-year-old little boy, and the next all we had left were echoes of the past, photographs of a lost boy who will never grow older, calendars marking a horrifying new anniversary, a lonely grave, and pieces of Noah's life stored in a backpack and boxes."

"What is lost remains lost. However, the resolution does provide a measure of accountability in an industry that has thus far operated with impunity. For this, we are grateful," Pozner and De La Rosa said.

In 2020, Remington filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time in just over two years.

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