Sixteen victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting or their family members will receive part of a $1.5 million settlement from the estate of the gunman’s mother.
Josh Koskoff, one of the attorneys who represented the families of 14 victims who died in the massacre and two who were injured, said the $1.5 million is the total amount of homeowners insurance coverage on the home Nancy Lanza shared with her son, Adam.
Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother before heading to the school and killing 20 first-graders and six educators in 2012.
In a phone interview Tuesday, Koskoff, who represented the victims for free, said the estate had no assets and the house was underwater so the maximum amount they could have received was $1.5 million.
“It was more about principle than it was about money,” Koskoff said. “Homeowners need to be scrupulous about securing their weapons.”
The lawsuit filed last January said Mrs. Lanza “made her weapons readily available to Adam Lanza, and had even provided funds to purchase a handgun for the upcoming Christmas Holiday, despite knowing Adam Lanza did not have a concealed carry permit issued through the state of Connecticut.”
Mrs. Lanza also took her son “to the nearby shooting range to fire her weapons on a regular basis in the months leading up to December 14, 2012,” the complaint states.
Adam Lanza had unrestricted access to the dangerous weapons that his mother owned, which she “failed to properly store or secure such weapons or ammunition,” the lawsuit states.
“Adam Lanza’s access to the Bushmaster, other weapons, and ammunition was a substantial factor leading to the plaintiff’s’ decedent’s injuries and losses,” the complaint continues.
Koskoff said they are also proceeding with a separate lawsuit on behalf of the victims against Bushmaster, the company that manufactured the firearm used in the shooting.
That complaint alleges wrongful death and negligence on the part of Bushmaster Firearms, the company that manufactured the weapon used in the shootings, as well as the weapon’s distributor and seller.
Attempts to move that case to federal court failed and the case is back in state court, where Koskoff said it belongs.
The next hearing in that case is Feb. 22, 2016.