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Jepsen: State Should Not be Liable for 'Harms Inflicted at Sandy Hook'

Connecticut Attorney General responds to claim filed on behalf of a 6-year-old survivor to obtain permission to sue for $100 million.

 

Attorney General George Jepsen says he is unaware of any facts or legal theories upon which the state should be liable for causing harms inflicted at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14.

Jepsen's statement, issued Monday afternoon, comes days after New Haven-based attorney Irving Pinsky filed a claim seeking permission to file a $100 million lawsuit on behalf of the family of an unnamed 6-year-old survivor. The claim, necessary in the state of Connecticut before the suit could be filed, asserts that the state failed to protect Sandy Hook Elementary School from "foreseeable harm."

"As attorney general, my office has a statutory obligation to defend this claim," Jepsen stated in an email to Connecticut news agencies. "Our hearts go out to this family, and to all the children and families affected by the Newtown shootings. They deserve a thoughtful and deliberate examination of the causes of this tragedy and of the appropriate public policy responses.

"However, the Office of the Claims Commissioner is not the appropriate venue for that important and complex discussion.  Although the investigation is still under way, we are aware of no facts or legal theory under which the State of Connecticut should be liable for causing the harms inflicted at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Nor does the claim letter filed in this case identify a valid basis to support a claim against the state and, by extension, its taxpayers.” 

The claim states that the state Board of Education, the state Department of Education and the education commissoner did not take proper steps to "protect the minor children from harm," the Hartford Courant originally reported. Pinsky's claim states his client suffered pscyhological and emotional distress because of what she saw and heard on Dec. 14.  

That is when 20 children and six educators were gunned down at the school by 20-year-old Adam Lanza, a Newtown resident who police said ultimately shot and killed himself. Lanza reportedly also shot and killed his mother, Nancy, before driving to the nearby school.

Do you think the state or anyone else should be held responsible for the shooting? Tell us in the comments section below. 

Andrew Santamauro January 01, 2013 at 01:26 PM
Growing up in Naugatuck in the 70's, when the school was open, the building was open. Sandy Hook Elementary School was locked up tight; Mr. Lanza needed to break/shoot out the glass in order to make entry. The school was as secure as it could have been. The only way to make the school even more secure was to make it into a prison. Living in Washington, DC I've seen schools like that, chain link fences around the perimeter, having to be buzzed in from the parking lot, escorted from the door by school security to a metal detector, and only then are you escorted to the office to state your business. There are no windows and a bunker like effect that even gave me the creeps when I drove by. Oh and, there is still school violence in the DC Public School System. Is the state responsible? No. Unless you take out all the windows, and make the school into a prison, the state did everything it could to protect the children. The parents and lawyer of this child should be ashamed of themselves. How dare they use this as an opportunity to enrich themselves. At least they have their child with them, can hug her and comfort her. There are 20 other families who wish they could say the same thing, not to mention the families of the 7 adults killed by this monster.
Grumpy Guy January 01, 2013 at 01:45 PM
I'm very glad the Attorney General made this statement and I agree with it completely. Its ridiculous for this sickening incident to be called "foreseeable" by Pinsky. And if for some reason the case ever gets to trial and the plaintiff raises the "foreseeability" claim, the State would have to argue that if the attack was foreseeable, that the parents "assumed the risk" by sending their child to school in the first place. Now THAT would get ugly!
Rosa Hurtado January 01, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Well said, Mr Santamauro... pure greed has taken the place of what should be gratitud for having their beloved one with them... Just shame
Ray Barrett Jr January 01, 2013 at 06:06 PM
Well put Mr. Santamauro and I agree with Grumpy Guy. I'm sure a lot of children, staff, and first responders saw and heard a lot of things they wish they didn't that day. Just be grateful you have your child to hug and I believe all the families are offered the counseling needed to help get through this tragedy.

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