Remington Arms subpoenaed the report cards, attendance and employment records for five children and four educators killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School as part of a lawsuit brought by the victims’ families.
Lawyers for the families filed a motion to seal the information on Thursday, citing a previous order that kept Remington’s proprietary business information from being shared in the course of the proceedings. The filing argues that sharing the records ― which the school district has released to Remington’s lawyers ― amounts to an insensitive invasion of privacy.
“We have no explanation for why Remington subpoenaed the Newtown Public School District to obtain the kindergarten and first-grade academic, attendance and disciplinary records of these five school children,” the families’ lead attorney, Josh Koskoff, said in a statement to HuffPost.
The company has been embroiled in litigation with Sandy Hook families since 2014. Two years earlier, a man walked into the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school with a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle and used it to kill 26 people, including 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7. The families argue that the gun manufacturer should be held accountable for marketing a military-grade weapon to civilians.
“The records cannot possibly excuse Remington’s egregious marketing conduct, or be of any assistance in estimating the catastrophic damages in this case,” Koskoff said. “The only relevant part of their attendance records is that they were at their desks on December 14, 2012.”
Remington’s attorneys did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Lawyers for the families alleged in a July court filing that the company “has sought delay and obfuscation at every turn” in the case; at the time, they sharply criticized the 18,000 cartoons delivered to them as part of discovery, the court-ordered process of document sharing between parties.
The families have expressed a desire to pull back the curtain on Remington’s inner workings and pierce the legal shield that has long protected gun manufacturers from lawsuits.
The 200-year-old company filed for bankruptcy last year and was broken up and sold off in seven pieces, separating its firearms and ammunition brands.
Thursday’s filing from the families argued that the bankruptcy is good reason to dissolve past court orders preventing certain categories of documentation from being shared with the parties involved. It cited a line from Remington’s own legal counsel: “Remington no longer has a proprietary interest in those documents because Remington no longer exists.”
“Remington is no longer entitled to claim confidentiality for documents it has produced or will produce,” the filing continued.
Remington’s lawyers offered up a nearly $33 million settlement to the families in late July, but the case is still moving toward a trial in the coming weeks.
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