Attorney Irv Pinsky’s six-year-old client heard the “cursing, screaming, and shooting,” over the intercom Dec. 14 when a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed her friends.
“You’re having a wonderful life and then the next thing you know your friends are all getting killed and you’re in danger,” Pinsky said Friday.
“You’re not allowed to sue the state until you receive permission,” Pinsky explained Friday. That’s why he’s filing the claim with the claims commissioner and not a court.
The claim says that the state Board of Education, Department of Education, and state Education Commissioner failed to take the appropriate steps to protect minor children from “foreseeable harm.”
The state failed to determine “whether the Newtown Board of Education had provided a safe school setting at said school.” The claim goes on to say that Sandy Hook Elementary and the Newtown Board of Education failed to “formulate and implement an effective student safety emergency response plan and protocol.
“As a consequence, the claimant-minor child has sustained emotional and psychological trauma and injury, the nature and extent of which are yet to be determined,” the claim says.
Pinsky said he’s asking that the identity of his client remain protected because “she’s suffered enough.” He said he was approached by her parents less than a week after the shooting and agreed to take the case.
Pinsky said he had to act swiftly to file the claim.
“I wanted to freeze the evidence before insurance company investigators start pouring in there to minimize the evidence,” Pinsky said.
He said he expects in the coming days and weeks insurance adjusters will be trying to interview witnesses, if they haven’t already.
“There’s a lot of people going to be involved in this,” Pinsky said. “All of the areas he practiced shooting, neighbors who may have known, police who may have known, the gun companies themselves . . .”
Pinsky said he has represented clients who have suffered trauma in the past, but he’s never dealt with something of this magnitude.
“The scale of this blows my mind,” Pinsky said. “It’s also so close to home.”
He declined to talk about the conversations he’s had with other attorneys about the claim, but “virtually everyone knows there’s going to be more claims.”
The Claims Commissioner recently moved and hasn’t received its mail since yesterday, so it’s difficult to determine with any certainty that this is the first claim, but officials at the office said they don’t recall any others being filed.