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Running the Sandy Hook playbook against the Uvalde gun manufacturer

I sincerely hope it works.

Will the attorney who won a $73 million settlement from Remington for nine Sandy Hook families use the same playbook in his legal dealings with the company that made the AR-15-style rifle used in the Texas massacre last month?

Yes and no.

“Of course you look at the precedent, but in any complicated case as grievous and shattering as this, you have to keep your toolkit wide open and look at everything,” said Josh Koskoff, a Bridgeport attorney who last week made national news by calling on rifle maker Daniel Defense to provide “information about its marketing, especially to teens and children” and about the gun company’s communications with the Uvalde shooter. “The Sandy Hook playbook is part of it, but you don’t want to start out with tunnel vision because you can miss what’s right in front of you.”

[…]

Koskoff and a team of Texas lawyers who are representing the parents of a slain Uvalde fourth-grade girl in many ways drew the battle lines last week for a legal fight with Georgia-based Daniel Defense. The parents’ lawyers called on the company to turn over information “relevant to your marketing of AR-15 style rifles to teens and children; to your incitement and encouragement of the assaultive use of these weapons; to your on-line purchase system; and to your communications, on any platform, with the Uvalde shooter; and to your awareness of the prior use of AR-15 style rifles in mass shootings.”

Those fighting words, released to the press, produced scores of headlines across the country that the lawyer who won the historic settlement in Connecticut with the one-time gun-making giant Remington was following the same battle plan in Texas on behalf of grieving parents.

Koskoff cautioned on Tuesday that he was not rushing with a predetermined mindset into anything.

“No matter how a case appears from the outside, you don’t bring a lawsuit until you have as much information as you can get to build the case,” Koskoff said.

In Connecticut, where nine families sued Remington for unlawful marketing of the AR-15-style rifle used in the Sandy Hook massacre, Koskoff attorneys were seeking Remington’s internal marketing documents right up to February, when the defunct manufacturer’s four insurance companies offered to the families all they had left after two Remington bankruptcies — $73 million.

In Texas, Koskoff’s June 3 letter to Daniel Defense served as a legal warning for the company to preserve data and records of “all potentially relevant information” regarding advertising, market studies, and purchase records, as well a legal request for the company to turn over marketing materials to the lawyer team representing the parents of the slain girl.

“We ask you to begin providing information to us now, rather than force (the parents) to file a lawsuit to obtain it,” the letter read.

See here for the background. My best guess is that Daniel Defense will do as little as possible to actually cooperate, though they will claim that they are. I don’t see any way that this doesn’t become contentious, and honestly that’s fine by me. Let’s have a big fight over this, which one hopes culminates in a judgment against or settlement with the manufacturer. There needs to be accountability, and that includes them.

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3 Comments

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    Although I am against shootings, I don’t know how a judge can determine the gun manufacturer is liable for illegal use of their product. Car makers should be sued all the time, for the use of their products in robbery getaways, kidnappings, hit and run, intentional use as a weapon, and drunk driving.

    Apparently Daniel Defense does have a lot of advertising, but I haven’t personally seen any of their ads. You can’t blame them for having online purchasing. That’s the way of sales these days.

    Daniel Defense is a recipient of a few federal contracts. Perhaps the federal government should use its leverage to get them to tone down their advertising. I believe that they also contract with some law enforcement agencies, state and local police and so forth.

  2. C.L. says:

    @Dr. Hochman…

    ” I don’t know how a judge can determine the gun manufacturer is liable for illegal use of their product. ”

    He ain’t gonna. The suit has nothing to do with the (alleged illegal) use of the product itself.

    “Perhaps the federal government should use its leverage to get them to tone down their advertising.”

    Except for that whole pesky First Amendment thing….

  3. Jason Hochman says:

    C.L. it is not a a first amendment question if the government doesn’t renew the contracts with Daniel Defense, which would be an economic pressure on them to change their advertising. Also, there have been some restrictions placed on advertising, such as cigarettes and alcohol. Beer commercials can’t show someone drinking the beer. Cigarettes can’t advertise on TV.