Settlement Proposed For Newtown School Shooting Lawsuits

Aug 5, 2015

The families of 16 victims of the 2012 Newtown school shooting would split $1.5 million under proposed settlements of two lawsuits filed against the estate of the shooter’s mother.

The lawsuits accuse Nancy Lanza of failing to properly secure her legally owned Bushmaster AR-15 rifle. Adam Lanza killed his mother with that rifle before killing 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Attorney Angelo Ziotas represented one of the families in the lawsuits. He said each family would receive a little over $90,000 if a judge approves the settlements. He said family members decided to file the lawsuits when they learned about insurance coverage on Nancy Lanza’s estate. Ziotas said it was hard to say why some of the 26 families decided to join the suits, and some didn’t.

“All the families are dealing with this horrible situation differently," Ziotas said. "It’s part of a process that some of them wanted to participate in. Others, for very legitimate decisions, did not. It’s a really personal decision.”

Attorneys representing the families filed the lawsuits in January.

Nine victims' families also have a lawsuit pending in federal court against Remington Outdoor Co., the company that makes the Bushmaster rifle. Those families say the rifle is too deadly to sell to civilians. And two victims' families are suing the town of Newtown and the Newtown Board of Education. They say teachers didn’t get training in security protocols, and they didn’t have access to keys that could have been used to lock classroom doors.