Judge Barbara Bellis Says Sandy Hook Families’ Lawsuit Against Remington Goes Forward

BY Herschel Smith
8 years ago

Hartford Courant:

Superior Court judge has denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit accusing gun makers and sellers of liability in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, saying the broad immunity granted to the firearms industry does not strip the court of jurisdiction to hear the claim.

While the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act generally insulates gun companies from liability, Judge Barbara Bellis said the law could be used to attack the legal sufficiency of the plaintiffs’ claims, but not to have the case thrown out at this early stage.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs – nine victims’ families and an administrator who was shot and survived – declared the ruling a major win, as victories against firearms companies are extremely rare. But the ruling does not preclude the defendants from reasserting their claims of immunity under federal law in a future motion.

The lawsuit accuses the Remington Arms Co. and other defendants of negligently selling to civilians a weapon the plaintiffs claim is suitable only for the military and law enforcement. At a hearing in February, Bridgeport lawyer Josh Koskoff argued against dismissing the case, saying the lawsuit’s claim of “negligent entrustment” is an exception to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

But Bellis ruled on a narrower issue, agreeing with the plaintiffs that she has jurisdiction to continue with the case, but not ruling on whether the federal law blocks the plaintiffs from pursuing their claim.

“At this juncture,” Bellis wrote, “the court need not and will not consider the merits of the plaintiffs’ negligent entrustment theory.”

Well, there may be a little more to what the judge concluded than that.  According to the AP, she concluded that the law “does not prevent lawyers for the families of Sandy Hook victims from arguing that the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle is a military weapon and should not have been sold to civilians.”  Selling an AR-15 to civilians is their equivalent of “negligent entrustment.”  The judge found that the lawyers may indeed argue that, and that she shouldn’t rule at the present on the appropriateness of said argument.  But since this is all covered by a law, let’s see what the law says.

(5) Businesses in the United States that are engaged in interstate and foreign commerce through the lawful design, manufacture, marketing, distribution, importation, or sale to the public of firearms or ammunition products that have been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce are not, and should not, be liable for the harm caused by those who criminally or unlawfully misuse firearm products or ammunition products that function as designed and intended.

(6) The possibility of imposing liability on an entire industry for harm that is solely caused by others is an abuse of the legal system, erodes public confidence in our Nation’s laws, threatens the diminution of a basic constitutional right and civil liberty, invites the disassembly and destabilization of other industries and economic sectors lawfully competing in the free enterprise system of the United States, and constitutes an unreasonable burden on interstate and foreign commerce of the United States.

(7) The liability actions commenced or contemplated by the Federal Government, States, municipalities, and private interest groups and others are based on theories without foundation in hundreds of years of the common law and jurisprudence of the United States and do not represent a bona fide expansion of the common law. The possible sustaining of these actions by a maverick judicial officer or petit jury would expand civil liability in a manner never contemplated by the framers of the Constitution, by Congress, or by the legislatures of the several States. Such an expansion of liability would constitute a deprivation of the rights, privileges, and immunities guaranteed to a citizen of the United States under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

(8) The liability actions commenced or contemplated by the Federal Government, States, municipalities, private interest groups and others attempt to use the judicial branch to circumvent the Legislative branch of government to regulate interstate and foreign commerce through judgments and judicial decrees thereby threatening the Separation of Powers doctrine and weakening and undermining important principles of federalism, State sovereignty and comity between the sister States.

It’s difficult to imagine a clearer statement than that.  The Congress intended for all judicial actions against firearms manufacturers to fail, excepting what they called “negligent entrustment.”  Further into the law, one reads just what that means, and it is obviously intended only to apply to known cases of sales to criminals who intended to perpetrate crimes with those weapons, instances where the seller knew or should have known the intent (presumably because he heard it directly from the buyer).

It doesn’t include all sales of certain categories of firearms to certain categories of the population, such as AR-15s sold to civilians.  Additionally, the notion that because one wants to purchase an AR-15 means that he wants to perpetrate some sort of crime is prima facie absurd.  We’ve discussed the fact that there is virtually no distinction between civilian and military firearms.  AR-15s are currently ubiquitous in America, and rarely are they used to perpetrate crimes.  Pistols on the battlefield and in the homes of America look the same because they are the same, unless one wants to point out that most of the time civilians own better weapons.

The U.S. Marine Corps took Benelli shotguns into Now Zad for house clearing, and the same Marine Corps took Remington 700s and Winchester bolt action guns into Iraq as designated marksman and sniper rifles.  Excluding fully automatic crew served weapons (along with the fact that M4s are selective fire), the only firearms I can find still in considerable use among the civilian population that isn’t in use in the military is the revolver, which is a shame given the beautiful wheel guns being made at the Smith & Wesson performance center.

The case is absurd, and the judge should certainly have dismissed it with prejudice.  And take note of one of the very reasons stated by the Congress for protection of firearms manufacturers, i.e., maverick judicial officer[s].  Judge Barbara Bellis is a maverick judicial officer (which I take to include both prosecutors and judges).  She is allowing her political views to cloud her judgment.

Uncle thinks this argument is a losing argument.  I guess I have to disagree.  In a dysfunctional judicial system, anything can happen.  It should be a losing argument.  David French thinks we should watch this one carefully.  I agree.  Right along with impeaching the judge (or if you wish, tar and feathers is a good approach too).

Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. On April 15, 2016 at 7:26 am, Geoffry K said:

    Betcha the Judge is a Democrat.

  2. On April 15, 2016 at 7:33 am, theBuckWheat said:

    Let us recall that Adam Lanza started that day by shooting his own mother in the head while she slept. He did this with a different rifle than the one he used to murder the school children. The logic of allowing these families to seek damages from the maker of that second firearm is just cray. But that is one factor in our decline: that the legal system has gone as crazy and out of control as some of the citizens.

  3. On April 15, 2016 at 9:16 am, Veritas56 said:

    No kidding. remember “the sum total of the world’s intelligence is a constant, and the population is growing”

  4. On April 15, 2016 at 10:32 am, Fred said:

    As much as I hate to agree with Uncle on anything (grin) I think the case is a loser. It might have to get above her court to fail but I think it will. Put her on the tar and feathers list.

    “…unless one wants to point out that most of the time civilians own better weapons.”
    Couldn’t resist could you, sir.

  5. On April 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm, Geoffry K said:

    The lawsuit has about as much chance of being successful as the Aurora Theater shooting lawsuit.

  6. On April 18, 2016 at 11:23 am, Archer said:

    I wouldn’t discount it yet. This one might succeed where that one failed.

    Because CHILDRENZ!!! And FEELINGZ!!! (And a broken judicial system.)

  7. On April 15, 2016 at 1:28 pm, Frank_in_Spokane said:

    And a rail.

    Tar, feathers and a rail.

  8. On April 15, 2016 at 1:44 pm, Geoffry K said:

    So has anybody sued Louisville Slugger over baseball bat bludgeoning deaths?
    Has any auto company been sued for drunk driving deaths?
    Has Cutco been sued for people knifed to death?
    Has a swimming pool maker been sued for drownings?
    Has Huffy been sued for people killed on a bicycle?
    So WHY sue the gun maker for misuse of a legal product?
    Because those idiots are gold diggers.
    ONLY if the gun was defective would they even have a case, and AFAIK, defective guns kill or injure the user, not 26 other people.

  9. On April 18, 2016 at 11:34 am, Archer said:

    That’s always been my argument. If it’s “negligent entrustment” to sell an AR-pattern rifle to civilians, then it’s negligent entrustment to sell cars to civilians who might decide to drive drunk. It’s negligent entrustment to sell clubs (a.k.a. baseball bats) and knives — or anything else — to people who just might use them “in a manner inconsistent with their designed intent”.

    This logic would dictate this means it could be negligent entrustment to sell anything to anyone. But guns are different, because they are different.

  10. On April 15, 2016 at 1:50 pm, alanstorm said:

    “The lawsuit accuses the Remington Arms Co. and other defendants of
    negligently selling to civilians a weapon the plaintiffs claim is
    suitable only for the military and law enforcement.”

    A good lawyer will squash this statement quickly:

    The military and police use select-fire weapons of this type, not semi-autos. Please explain to the court how the rifle is only suitable for use by those who do not use it.

  11. On April 15, 2016 at 10:13 pm, steve618 said:

    Since no one died at Sandy Hook no one has standing to sue any gun manufacturer. This is a great opportunity for the defense attorneys to expose the whole fraud by forcing these creeps to testify under oath with the legal risk of being caught perjuring themselves.

  12. On April 16, 2016 at 12:18 am, 4aCo-operationation said:

    First the weapon used was not a military issue: 2nd there is no exceptions in the 2nd Amendment anyway: 3rd this treasonous pos judicial skank isn’t going to back door the constitutional rights many fought and died for while she sits in her air conditioned high chair.

  13. On April 16, 2016 at 9:00 pm, Haywood Jablome said:

    Judicial activism….one more slice in the USA’s death by 1000 paper cuts….

  14. On April 17, 2016 at 2:28 am, Daniel Barger said:

    This ruling will be appealed…..and the appeals will continue until the case is tossed or until the
    Supreme Court gets it and either plays dumb (not much of an act) by refusing to hear it or grants it a hearing where they will either have to squash this or rule openly for all to see in direct violation of multiple rulings PLUS the law to allow this travesty to proceed. I suspect this suit will die at the first multi judge court it comes to. But in the mean time a LOT of lawyers will be racking up a LOT of billable hours. And THAT may be one reason the judge didn’t kill this……to allow for her fellow shysters to enrich themselves.

  15. On April 18, 2016 at 9:04 pm, HiCarry said:

    The ruling won’t be appealed. It was a procedural issue in determining jurisdiction. The defendants will still get to argue the protections of the PLCAA in the forthcoming proceedings.

  16. On April 18, 2016 at 10:29 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Oh, they’ll argue their case alright. They should have to begin with, but the bigger point is that this has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that she could have thrown the case out because she didn’t have jurisdiction, and she knows it. The defense didn’t have to argue that for her to find it to be the case. In fact, she could have thrown the case out and reprimanded the defense for offering up such a stupid argument to begin with. She wasn’t limited to the argument offered up by the defense.

  17. On April 19, 2016 at 5:48 pm, HiCarry said:

    Well, unless the point is argued at the appellate level after the case progresses, it would appear that the Judge did indeed have jurisdiction. I do recall reading that circuit rules did give her the ability to claim jurisdiction but cannot recall the source right now.
    Generally speaking, unless the defendant is acting pro se, the judge is not going to offer “help” or tutoring to either side in pleading their case.

  18. On April 19, 2016 at 9:12 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    The judge doesn’t have jurisdiction because federal law says the judge doesn’t have jurisdiction, regardless of what the judge herself believes. Her beliefs were false.

  19. On April 19, 2016 at 10:53 pm, HiCarry said:

    With all due respect to your legal knowledge, since it was a Federal Court Judge that remanded the case from his docket to the state, it would appear that at least some legal professionals might disagree with your pronouncement.
    And David Hardy appears to have no problem, if state procedures allow, for this action based on the circumstances of the case.

    All that aside, I think the case will progress, the plaintifs will get smacked down and ultimately be saddled with huge legal bills, just like what happened with the Aurora shooter case.

  20. On April 20, 2016 at 10:03 am, Herschel Smith said:

    I know, I exchanged email with Dave on this. I think you might be missing the point. I claim no legal knowledge. You’re in the weeds on the legal arguments here, and I’m making a larger point. Regardless of what the idiot lawyers argued, and regardless of whatever hanging thread the judge used to latch onto this silly thing, Senate and House specifically said that this area is off limits. You can’t go there. They also have the power to pass legislation telling the Supreme Court not to take up issues if they want. I know it isn’t in vogue today, but the Congress has much more power than people understand. In this case, it’s an imagination of recalcitrant people (the parents, the lawyers, and the judges) which concludes that anyone has any standing to do anything. They don’t. The Congress has said so. This could go all the way to the Supreme Court and Remington could be put out of business, and AR-15s declared illegal, and it still doesn’t change the fact that the Congress has said don’t go there. Nobody has standing to do anything. The Congress may not choose to enforce their edicts because they’re pussies, and the executive branch may not go along with this law because they’re communists, but that also doesn’t change the fact that any legal action on this front is ill-conceived, illegal, and illegitimate.

  21. On April 20, 2016 at 11:35 am, Fred said:

    and void, null, and of no force and effect.

  22. On April 22, 2016 at 2:56 pm, HiCarry said:

    So, you admit that you don’t have a legal background but despite that, and the fact that another Judge, a Federal one remanded the case back to the state, you want to state unequivocally that you are right about the law and that everyone else is incorrect. Great. Got it….

  23. On April 22, 2016 at 3:39 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    I think it was real cool of you to use your real name and real picture. You can get whatever you wish, or not. I don’t really care. You can claim that the moon is made of green cheese because a judge says so, or that Clinton’s AWB was constitutional, or perhaps that Remington is responsible for how people use their weapons. It’s all the same to me. Either way, you don’t seem capable of thinking past a fifth grade level, and you turned from “with all due respect” to an argumentative jackass. That tells me that in the end, you don’t want to discuss anything. You’re just a troll like so many others who have too much time on their hands (or apparently no job to work). Yawn. I’ll forget all about you by the time I’ve stopped typing this response, like a fart in the wind.

  24. On April 17, 2016 at 8:15 pm, will_ford said:

    I hope Remington sues to recover cost and gets the judge in the process. IF at all possible. DAMN lib-turds.

  25. On April 18, 2016 at 1:33 am, Tess said:

    This is treason..this judge vowed to defend the Constitution..and here she is attacking it..as well as our ability to defend ourselves from intruder in our homes..AS WELL AS tyranical dictators IN THE GOV TODAY..IM SICK OF PERPETUAL WAR ACROSS THE SEA..WE HAVE A WAR OF OUR OWN TO FIGHT..if were to keep control of this nation…THE BOLSHEVIKS came here from Russia../USSR..and have infiltrated our gov….The MILITIA IS WE THE PEOPLE…not some organized military gov organization…geesshh..


    TREASONOUS.. TRAITORS..and they all should be punished PUBLICLY to the full extent of the law…IF WE DID THIS…ALL THE ANTI AMERICAN, ANTI CONSTITUTION COMMIES IN OUR GOV TODAY..WOULD SLITHER AWAY.and hide from the IRE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE…and we would be able to control our own gov..once again.


    THERE SHOULD BE NO WAR UNLESS CONGRESS DECLARES IT..and that has not happened since WW2 and yet we have been in perpetual war making enemies across the ocean..then calling THEM TERRORISTS??? WTF?????


    so basically 1/3 of American wealth has been LOOTED FROM US YEARLY…by this international tribe of thieves
    ..and murderers..

  26. On April 19, 2016 at 2:07 pm, Pat Hines said:

    Deprivation of Rights under color of law is a felony.


    Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

    (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 696; Pub. L. 90–284, title I, § 103(b), Apr. 11, 1968, 82 Stat. 75; Pub. L. 100–690, title VII, § 7019, Nov. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 4396; Pub. L. 103–322, title VI, § 60006(b), title XXXII, §§ 320103(b), 320201(b), title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(H), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 1970, 2109, 2113, 2147; Pub. L. 104–294, title VI, §§ 604(b)(14)(B), 607(a), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3507, 3511.)

  27. On May 14, 2016 at 4:30 pm, ElmoS said:

    This Judge is just another Judge that should follow the law. The above statement is clear enough that this case should dismissed. But the Obama Administration is most likely behind this.

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You are currently reading "Judge Barbara Bellis Says Sandy Hook Families’ Lawsuit Against Remington Goes Forward", entry #15082 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Gun Control,Guns and was published April 14th, 2016 by Herschel Smith.

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