The insurance companies handling the bankruptcy of the former Remington Arms Company made a $33 million bid this week to escape a specious lawsuit leveled by families of Sandy Hook victims.
Remington’s proposed settlement would provide $3.66 million to relatives of each of the nine victims in the lawsuit, according to Reuters. Even if the families take the offer, any settlement in the case must first be approved by the judge overseeing Remington’s bankruptcy case in Alabama.
Big Green has been fighting this lawsuit for years. Families of nine of the victims of the 2012 massacre brought the case shortly after the incident, but the Connecticut Supreme Court did not rule until 2019 that Remington could not be held liable for selling its AR-type Bushmaster rifle the murderer used to kill 20 children and six adults.
However, the court allowed the case to move forward based on Remington’s supposed “unethical and irresponsible marketing practices.” Remington should have known its “militaristic” marketing would appeal to someone like the Sandy Hook murderer, and they should have known a person like that would commit horrible atrocities.
In November of 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the lawsuit to proceed when it turned down hearing the case. The justices did not offer a justification for their denial of certiorari.
It’s important to remember that the Remington Arms involved in this settlement is not the same entity as the Remington Arms that exists today (or any of the other brands that were sold in the 2020 bankruptcy auction). This settlement is being negotiated by the insurance carriers of the old Remington Arms, which are obligated to defend and indemnify the bankruptcy estate, according to Mark Oliva of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“The new Remington Arms that purchased certain assets during the bankruptcy sale opened an entirely new business and have opened and continuing to increase capacity at the old Remington factory in Ilion, N.Y,” Oliva said.
Sandy Hook families have not indicated whether they plan to take Big Green’s deal, but they have not rejected it. Lawyers for the families say their clients are “considering next steps,” even though they claimed in February that their wrongful death claims could exceed $1 billion in damages.
SEE ALSO: BREAKING: Connecticut Supreme Court Allows Sandy Hook Lawsuit against Remington to Move Forward
Remington’s settlement proposal will likely concern other gun manufacturers. Congress passed the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to shield firearm makers from precisely this type of frivolous lawsuit. In the 1990s and early 2000s, anti-gun organizations were attempting to run the gun industry out of business by launching hundreds of frivolous lawsuits they knew would never succeed.
The success of these Sandy Hook families could encourage other anti-gun organizations to launch similar lawsuits on similar grounds. In fact, that process has already begun. The Brady Campaign sued Smith & Wesson this year for their “irresponsible” marketing practices, and a judge in California allowed the case to proceed.
This week, Everytown announced a $3 million war chest to help fund these types of lawsuits.