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DC – COURTS – Supreme Court’s Non-Action Opens Door for More Gun Litigation

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear an appeal of a lawsuit filed by relatives of the Sandy Hook school massacre will probably inspire more families of shooting victims to sue gun makers—but just how far those suits go depends largely on where they’re filed. The action—or inaction—by the high court allows plaintiffs in the Connecticut suit to go forward against Remington Arms Co. LLC, the manufacturer of the gun used by Adam Lanza to shoot and kill 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012. The suit will proceed despite a 2005 federal law that broadly exempts gun makers from liability. The greatest effect, say some gun litigation experts interviewed by Bloomberg Law, may be psychological as the gun lobby, until now, has seemed invincible. “What has prevented some lawyers from bringing these cases is an impression that this federal industry law bars those cases, and it doesn’t,” said Jonathan Lowy, chief counsel and vice president for the legal action project at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Lowy is involved with 15 cases across the country seeking to hold gun-industry defendants liable for deaths caused by firearms. Georgia State University College of Law professor Timothy Lytton agrees the case may lead to more litigation, but “not really shift the liability exposure to the gun industry.”  [full article]

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