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Six Year Old Seeks To Sue State Over Sandy Hook Shooting

by Christine Stuart | Dec 28, 2012 5:22pm
(26) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Town News, Newtown, Legal, Public Safety

Melissa Bailey file photo

Attorney Irving Pinsky of New Haven

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.

That’s why he’s filed a $100 million claim Thursday on behalf of his client, Jill Doe, with the state Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance, Jr.

“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.

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(26) Comments

posted by: jk98 | December 28, 2012  7:15pm

I’m so sorry to read this. I don’t think there is anything more the school could have done to prevent this. The actions of the staff, children, and first responders amazed and inspired me.

posted by: Reasonable | December 28, 2012  9:05pm

Show no time-period-of-mercy for the innocent victims.  “It’s already a lawyer’s money game thanks to go-getter Irving Pinsky!”

posted by: brutus2011 | December 28, 2012  11:23pm

brutus2011

Atty Pinsky may have a point—a very provable point.

After all, “the thing speaks for itself.”

The SDE, local BOEs, and its administrators owe a standard of care to all under their control—especially our children.

By engaging in self-serving posturing manifested by ineffective policy and fiscal irresponsibility, those responsible for the overall welfare of the inhabitants of our classrooms probably are liable for breach here and elsewhere. 

And yes, “the scale of this blows my mind” as well.

posted by: Jeanie | December 29, 2012  6:44am

Your kidding me right.  They did everything they could do including the teachers and principal giving there life.  The gunman shot out the door with an assault rifle.  Hearing it on the income was to help put the kids in a safety area.  This is a new low. I bet any parent who lost there child would be alot happier bringing there hold to a therapist getting help but hard to believe they would sue.  The lawye and family should be ashamed of themselves for wanting to profit from this tragedy.  We will never get rid of scum balls.

posted by: michaelf | December 29, 2012  10:30am

It was only a matter of time before some scumbag hired a lawyer to try and get rich while so maney people are still suffering.

posted by: Monroeman | December 29, 2012  12:41pm

I do not know what is worse, the woman from the Bronx who set up the fake fund for the victims or this couple and this lawyer.

posted by: Todd Peterson | December 29, 2012  1:18pm

Since this calamity occured we’ve gotten to see a lot of the best of humanity - which comes from our Creator. Atty. Pinsky is the lowest common denominator. 

I happen to work in the court system so I know of many honorable people in the legal profession.  This is not a broad brush indictment of lawyers.  Mr. Pinsky will see his reputation damaged greatly by this quixotic nonsense.  Very sad indeed…

posted by: Reasonable | December 29, 2012  2:11pm

Brutus2011:  The only point Irving Pinsky is making is that he wants all of the citizens if Connecticut—and we all pay taxes—to pay for this tragedy—so he can make himself a very sizable legal fee.  It gives lawyers a bad name. Pinsky should go to his place of worship and reflect for Godly help and forgiveness—in his quest to make money off all the people, so soon after this human massacre.  Give it a break Irving!

posted by: banjo | December 29, 2012  3:03pm

Yes, they “did everything they could do” except they put a lock on a glass door which could have been kicked in instead of being shot out.

Why not a solid door or thick acyrilic for a bullet proof window?

Except no body was even watching the parking lot when that nutcase got out and suited up.

Except there wasn’t even a “school resource” police officer present. We have armed guards in factories, shopping malls and used car lots, but not at schools.

Why ? Because we have to pay 100% of teachers health care costs, full retirement benefits and other perks and that are more important than putting $200 piece of plastic in a window frame.

“safe schools” are a joke, We need crazy people control, not gun control, but locking crazy people up has not been popular since the 1950’s because we don’t want crazy people to “feel bad” Right ?

That nut job tried to buy a rifle and was denied at the time of sale, why was he not arrested then ?

Shame on all of you.

posted by: ConnVoter | December 29, 2012  3:14pm

It boggles the mind to think that some people genuinely believe that the State has the ability to predict or stop just about every bad thing that could possibly happen to its citizens.

posted by: NoNonsense2012 | December 29, 2012  6:08pm

@ banjo: Would you also want to remove all windows in all schools? There’s no such thing as “bullet-proof” glass. It’s “bullet-resistant” glass, and with the weapons Lanza had, he could have broken through that, too. What do you mean “when he got out and suited up”? Don’t you think he was dressed before he got out of the car? As for there not being a “school resource officer” present, what makes you think it would have made much, if any, difference? It didn’t at Columbine or Virginia Tech.

Guards (armed or not) at factories, shopping malls and used car lots are paid for by the factories, shopping malls and used car lots. Do you have any idea of the cost to post a police officer (better trained and equipped than a guard) in every single school? And, BTW, I don’t know where you live, but nowhere that I know of pays 100% of teachers’ health care costs, so that’s a false argument.

We don’t “lock up crazy people” because most people with mental illness are not violent and do not need to be locked up. And most mass shooters were not diagnosed as “crazy” or even mentally ill. And if you have a crystal ball, and can predict such events, perhaps you should share it.

You ask why Lanza was not arrested when he tried and failed to buy a rifle. He didn’t want to abide by the 14-day waiting period while a background check was done. He had no criminal record anyway, so what do you suppose he could have been charged with? I’m sure the employees at the sporting goods store didn’t have access to your crystal ball to know what Lanza’s plan was.

posted by: Joebigjoe | December 29, 2012  8:16pm

I don’t like this lawsuit because even though I blame gun free zone stupidity after the shooter and the mother in this case, 100 million is insane.

I have a feeling he knows something about this event that we don’t. My guess is that it has to do with that rumor that Lanza was there the day before causing an issue.

If he was causing an issue the day before and police weren’t called then that would be a shame.

posted by: CTBoater | December 29, 2012  11:27pm

It’s nice to know that the Commissioner will have to rule before this goes to court.  While we are all sympathetic to everyone in Newtown, I hope the Commissioner will rule that this does not go to court because from what we have heard in the media, I think the school did everything it could to try and protect the children and faculty.  Broadcasting what was happening over the intercom probably alerted teachers….. we will never know just how many lives were saved because of the actions the school DID take!

What really needs to happen is to find a way to prevent this from happening again!

posted by: oliviahuxtable | December 30, 2012  9:49am

So Mr. or Ms. Banjo thinks it is the union’s fault that Newtown occurred…I was wondering when we would hear some nutjob blame the unions. Pestilence? Blame unions…volcano erupting?....unions…ice cap melting? damn unions….your child gets cancer? some union guy needs to pay!
Yes, I hear some Banjo music playing…

posted by: RyanMcKeen | December 30, 2012  5:08pm

In my opinion, CT law does not support such a claim. http://aconnecticutlawblog.com/2012/12/what-the-media-is-not-saying-about-potential-sandy-hook-lawsuit/

posted by: Reasonable | December 30, 2012  8:29pm

banjo:  Hindsight won’t replace foresight.

posted by: perturbed | December 30, 2012  9:00pm

perturbed

I feel ashamed for this attorney and his clients. (They obviously have none of their own.)

—perturbed

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | December 30, 2012  10:06pm

GoatBoyPHD

Having taught in an urban ‘safe school’ in the early 90s when armed police were added due to gang recruitment and violence all I can say is there are no easy answers.

Drawing an armed police officer away from the door is a piece of cake as anyone with the least bit of military strategy and gang tactical knowledge knows. A good video game player would have the armed forces answering an emergency in the backlot when the shooters hit the scene or called in a bomb scare or used some other diversionary tactics to expose the student population. Hello recess!

It’s not a pretty situation that lends itself to easy solutions. Can we realistically fight a determined mass murderer?

We usually end up fighting the last war over and over and provisioning against a tragic event now in the past and unlikely to bear the pattern of a future attack.

posted by: brutus2011 | December 31, 2012  1:41am

brutus2011

to “RyanMcKeen:”

Not sure about your opinion.
Negligence by the state ed authorities in this case is close to meeting the elements if you use RIL (1. the harm suffered is the fault of someone, 2. no likely contributory negligence, and 3. admittedly this is the hard one—is it likely that the state contributed to the harm?) to establish breach of duty and a jury agrees. Then actual and proximate cause are probably not far behind. As far as the facts that are publicly known—I think it is a fair wager that there is more to this than the public knows at this point. I would not dismiss this one on summary judgment as of yet.

posted by: Hoosier@CT | December 31, 2012  8:18am

This is just another ambulance chaser diving for the deep pockets of the state.  The School and the State both provided reasonable security in this case.  There is no way to provide complete protection in any environment without putting the children behind prison walls, and even then they are not totally protected. We need laws on the books to protect ourselves and our state from such frivolus lawsuits.

posted by: Joebigjoe | December 31, 2012  10:09am

Goat Boy you make a good point. You can’t stop all of the mass murders, but we have to accept that thinking a glass door, intercom, metal detectors will work would be foolish.

It may not be a smart upper middle class white male, but a few terrorists that no longer like the car bomb idea. At least 334 hostages were killed as a result of that Russian attack years ago including 186 children. It’s naive to think there isn’t at least one person in this country right now that wouldnt like to get that result.

posted by: mmal231294 | December 31, 2012  11:13am

If the lady attacked by the Chimp(which the state new was being possessed illegally) was turned down by the Commish…this guy doesn’t have a chance..Thankfully. I guess to some people, money really is the most important thing in the world.

posted by: Reasonable | December 31, 2012  1:04pm

oliviahuxtable: Although you went overboard—you made your point. Unions are to blame for our bad economy—and many other things, but not the Newtown Sandy Hook School tragedy.
Stop the banjo music Olivia.

posted by: Reasonable | December 31, 2012  1:15pm

GoatBoyPHD: The point is—why sue all state taxpayers—to pay for the killing field perpetrated by one sick and deadly individual?  It makes no sense, and “hopefully this lawyer’s quest of a moneymaker if denied.”

posted by: judburd | December 31, 2012  2:32pm

Dear Attorney Pinsky, I officially vote you the “worst person for 2012” for this move!  Congratulations.  You should be completely ashamed of yourself.  YOU are the kind of lawyer that gives kind, respectable, responsible lawyers a bad name!  Your family must be proud…..

posted by: Pinskyisaloser | December 31, 2012  4:32pm

Unbelievable,  scumbag lawyer is out for himself