Newtown, school board ask judge to dismiss Sandy Hook massacre lawsuit

July 3, 2017 GMT

NEWTOWN - The town and school district have asked a judge to throw out a wrongful death lawsuit brought by parents of two children slain in the Sandy Hook massacre, arguing it was the shooter - and not Newtown officials - who caused the worst crime in Connecticut history.

“Simply alleging that the defendants’ teachers, administrators or staff failed to act a specific way prior to or in the middle of such a shocking tragedy, when six of them gave their lives to protect the children of the school, is not enough to create a genuine issue of material fact,” writes the town and school district’s lead attorney, Charles Deluca of Stamford. “[T]he horrendous and unprecedented nature of (the shooter) Adam Lanza’s criminal conduct precludes any finding of foreseeability, a necessary element for the plaintiffs to proceed.”

The lawsuit brought by the parents of slain first-graders Jesse Lewis and Noah Pozner against Newtown and the Newtown Board of Education is not to be confused with the higher-profile case brought by 10 Sandy Hook families against Remington, the maker of the AR-15-style rifle used by Adam Lanza to massacre 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook School in 2012.

That lawsuit, which has garnered national headlines, is being appealed in state Supreme Court after being thrown out of trial court in 2016.

The parents of the two slain first graders who are suing the town and school board are also among the 10 Sandy Hook families suing Remington.

Parents Neil Heslin, Scarlett Lewis and Leonard Pozner unsuccessfully offered to settle their lawsuit against Newtown and the school board in 2016 for $5.5 million each.

The parents claim security measures were inadequate at Sandy Hook School, including

A lockdown plan was practiced but not implemented during the shooting.

A substitute teacher who died along with her students was not trained and did not have a key to lock her door.

The shooter easily got past the school’s locked doors by shooting out a plate glass window.

The parents’ attorney on Monday said it was callous for Newtown to file its argument on Friday, which would have been Jesse Lewis’ 11th birthday.

“[T]he Town decided that would be the day that they file a motion to try and dismiss the case brought on his behalf to try and honor his legacy and heroics by making schools safer for other children,” attorney Donald Papcsy said. “Even inside the motion itself, the defense lawyers seem to have forgotten that these are the children that sacrificed their lives, and these are the families that have to live with that sacrifice.”