Sandy Hook attorneys lauded by legal peers for taking the case against Remington
Josh Koskoff says that when his law firm, Koskoff, Koskoff and Bieder, decided to represent the families of some of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, his legal peers were skeptical – some of them said “good luck” with that.
The families were suing Remington, the maker of the AR-15-style rifle used in the 2012 shootings that left 20 students and six educators dead.
In February of this year, Remington agreed to a $73 million settlement with the families. The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence called the settlement the first damages award of that magnitude against a U.S. gun manufacturer related to a mass shooting.
Now Koskoff and his legal team are receiving an award for public service from the American Association for Justice. The award recognizes the firm for taking “an innovative approach to a nearly insurmountable legal hurdle: a law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”), which was believed to give firearms manufacturers blanket immunity in mass shooting cases. The legal team showed that Remington’s violence-glorifying marketing was an unfair trade practice, a violation of Connecticut law.”
Koskoff said he hopes the award will inspire other lawyers.
“Hopefully, the recognition that the case is receiving in the legal community will shine a light on the possibilities in how lawyers can help the many families of victims across America that find themselves shattered through no fault of their own because of the conduct of the American gun industry,” he said.
Koskoff said going against an industry typically immunized by federal law was like trying to navigate a dark, unexplored cave.
“Early on I was struck by how negative and pessimistic the legal community was concerning a potential lawsuit, and I guess I understand it,” he said. “Nobody believes something can happen until it happens, and then it becomes just accepted.”
The Koskoff firm is now advising families in Uvalde, Texas, about a potential lawsuit against the manufacturer of the AR-15-style rifle used in that school massacre. The firm is also representing Sandy Hook families in a defamation lawsuit against InfoWars host Alex Jones. Jury selection in that case begins Aug. 2.