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Families of Multiple Newtown Victims Sue Estate of Shooter's Mother

Posted by on Mar. 15, 2015 at 8:58 AM
  • 103 Replies

Families of Multiple Newtown Victims Sue Estate of Shooter's Mother


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NEWTOWN, CT - DECEMBER 19: Police tape stretches across the front yard of the Lanza residence on December 19, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza reportedly shot his mother Nancy Lanza last Friday before he killed 26 others, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Two injured survivors and families of at least eight of 26 victims murdered in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012 are suing the estate of Nancy Lanza, the mother of shooter Adam Lanza.

Two separate lawsuits filed in January claim that Nancy Lanza bought a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle and kept it unsecured in her home, contributing to the wrongful death of at least eight students and educators killed when her son used the gun in the Sandy Hook school shooting massacre, also killing her and committing suicide.

Her son's access to the military-style weapon "was a substantial factor" leading to deaths of students Benjamin Andrew Wheeler, 6, Dylan Christopher Hockley, 6, and Daniel Gerard Barden, 7, and educators Rachel Marie D'Avino, 29, Mary Joy Sherlach, 56, Lauren G. Rousseau, 30, and Rachel Victoria Leigh Soto, 27, in the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting, one of the lawsuits argues.

The family of James Radley Mattioli, 6, another student killed in the shooting, also filed a complaint against Nancy Lanza's estate on grounds of wrongful death because she "failed to adaquately lock up or otherwise secure the weapon in her home," arguing that her "carelessness and negligence" played a part in Mattioli's death. The complaint argues that Nancy Lanza "allowed her son, Adam Lanza, access to the weapon despite the fact that she knew or should have known that his mental and emotional condition made him a danger to others."

Survivors Natalie Hammond and Deborah Pisani are also listed as complainants on the first lawsuit, claiming that Adam Lanza's access to gun in the shooting caused their serious personal injuries, as well as "loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, medical and other related expenses, severe emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life's activities."

The families of the deceased victims also incurred burial expenses as a result of the mass shooting that claimed the lives of their loved ones, according to the first lawsuit. The plaintiffs named in that case are asking for at least $15,000 in damages. [not greedy and incredibly fair]

The lawsuits also seek to collect on Nancy Lanza's homeowner's insurance. Bridgeport lawyer Josh Koskoff, representing the families suing, said homeowner's insurance applies when a person is injured as a result of an unsecured firearm in a home being accessed by a third party.

"With this many claimants, the money ends up being a symbolic gesture, but it serves as an important reminder that people who keep firearms in the home must be scrupulous about securing their weapons," Koskoff said in a statement, adding that the policy is estimated to be worth between $1 million and $1.5 million.

A judge has set a status conference on both lawsuits at Bridgeport Superior Court for April 9.

Hammond and the Sherlach, Soto, Hockley, Rousseau, Wheeler, Barden and D'Avino families are also named in a lawsuit against the gun-maker, Bushmaster that manufactured the gun used in the killing spree. The families of Jesse Lewis, 6, and Noah Pozner, 6, are also part of the lawsuit, which was moved to federal court in January.  The wrongful-death and negligence lawsuit says the rifle should not have been sold for civilian use because of its overwhelming firepower.

Bushmaster, which on its website has a warning against improper or careless handling of its firearms, hasn't filed a response to the lawsuit in federal court but has indicated it intends to file a motion to dismiss it.

The town of Newtown acquired the Lanza house in December at no cost to the town, officials said. Ryan Lanza, the heir to the estate, authorized the deal, according to the Hartford Courant. The Newtown Legislative Council voted in January to tear it down.

A construction company with ties to the town has offered to demolish the home at no cost.

by on Mar. 15, 2015 at 8:58 AM
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quickbooksworm
by Gold Member on Mar. 15, 2015 at 9:02 AM
3 moms liked this
I understand why they are doing it but I don't like the precedent it will set.
angelachristine
by Bronze Member on Mar. 15, 2015 at 9:03 AM
Good luck to them. I hope they win. I don't really understand the town wanting to demolish everything though. It's in a residential neighbourhood what are they going to do build another house?
BalderdashMom
by on Mar. 15, 2015 at 9:07 AM


Quoting quickbooksworm: I understand why they are doing it but I don't like the precedent it will set.

Can you please be more specific? Because there are two different cases here.

BalderdashMom
by on Mar. 15, 2015 at 9:09 AM


Quoting angelachristine: Good luck to them. I hope they win. I don't really understand the town wanting to demolish everything though. It's in a residential neighbourhood what are they going to do build another house?

The town acquired the house. I doubt the town will build a home there. I could be wrong, but it wouldn't make sense for the town to acquire it, destroy it, and build a home to sell it.

billsfan1104
by Emerald Member on Mar. 15, 2015 at 9:17 AM
12 moms liked this
So they take from a son, whose mom was murdered by his brother. What is the point of the lawsuit?? She is dead. It's not going to teach anyone anything.
broboxer
by Platinum Member on Mar. 15, 2015 at 9:37 AM
2 moms liked this
Why sue the gun manufacturer? What did they do wrong in this case? Nothing. Maybe sue the estate of the mother because she failed to secure her weapons. But, to sue the gun maker is absolutely absurd. That just shouts someone looking for the deep pockets.
BalderdashMom
by on Mar. 15, 2015 at 9:40 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting billsfan1104: So they take from a son, whose mom was murdered by his brother. What is the point of the lawsuit?? She is dead. It's not going to teach anyone anything.

Why is he entitled to the estate? Just because he's her child? From what I've read and understand from previous articles he wants nothing, and was estranged from his mother because of his brother. The people who lost their lives might still be alive if she had taken precautions with her firearms. 

No one is taking from her son because what's being taken was never his.

BalderdashMom
by on Mar. 15, 2015 at 9:42 AM


Quoting broboxer: Why sue the gun manufacturer? What did they do wrong in this case? Nothing. Maybe sue the estate of the mother because she failed to secure her weapons. But, to sue the gun maker is absolutely absurd. That just shouts someone looking for the deep pockets.

That's part of this article, but I'm more interested in discussing the claim against Lanza's estate.

BalderdashMom
by on Mar. 15, 2015 at 9:44 AM
4 moms liked this

...if I was to inherit that estate I would never feel comfortable with any monetary gain. I would likely sell it and find a way to disburse it among the families, make a donation, or create a memorial.

broboxer
by Platinum Member on Mar. 15, 2015 at 9:44 AM
Ok then, like I said, they mey get something from the estate if she failed to properly secure her weapons.

Quoting BalderdashMom:

Quoting broboxer: Why sue the gun manufacturer? What did they do wrong in this case? Nothing. Maybe sue the estate of the mother because she failed to secure her weapons. But, to sue the gun maker is absolutely absurd. That just shouts someone looking for the deep pockets.

That's part of this article, but I'm more interested in discussing the claim against Lanza's estate.

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