Soto v. Bushmaster: Supporting the Sandy Hook Families
Update: On March 14, 2019, the Connecticut Supreme Court issued a favorable decision allowing the Sandy Hook families to proceed with their claim against the maker of the assault weapon used in the shooting under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, the outcome argued for in our amicus brief.
Case Information: Soto et al. v. Bushmaster et al., S.C. Nos. 19832 & 19833 (Connecticut Supreme Court brief filed Mar. 20, 2017).
At Issue: This case involves claims brought by families of the victims killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, against the sellers and maker of the assault weapon used in the shooting. The families’ lawsuit claimed that the marketing and sale of the assault weapon violated Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), but the Connecticut Superior Court concluded that the families lacked standing to sue under CUTPA because they were not in a “business relationship” with the defendants. The Connecticut Supreme Court agreed to hear the families’ appeal from the decision dismissing their lawsuit.
The Law Center’s Brief: We filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff families. Our brief argues that requiring a business relationship for standing under CUTPA conflicts with the decisions of courts in a number of other states, which have interpreted similar trade practices laws to confer standing on all parties injured by violations. Our brief included a 50-state survey of relevant unfair trade practice laws, and concluded that of the fourteen states with laws similar to Connecticut’s, none have required a “business relationship,” and six have affirmatively found that no business relationship is required for an injured plaintiff to have standing.