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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. 

Carol King January 01, 2013 at 02:11 PM
This is a frivolous claim filed by someone who wants to profit from a tragedy. The state cannot be held accountable for the rampage of a madman, any more than a movie theater or mall can be held responsible for the acts of a deranged patron. However, the state can revise gun laws and make it so much harder for high-powered artillery to get into the hands of the wrong people.
Chris January 01, 2013 at 02:40 PM
This is a frivolous claim filed by someone who wants to profit from a tragedy. The state cannot be held accountable for the rampage of a madman, any more than a movie theater or mall can be held responsible for the acts of a deranged patron. However, the state can revise gun laws and make it so much easier for school employees (who are already background checked, trained, and licensed to carry a weapon everywhere else except on school grounds) to defend themselves and our children against the wrong people.
lordshipres January 01, 2013 at 03:20 PM
The person who was responsible already killed himself. As for this attorney he knows it frivolous, its just his 15 minutes of fame he's looking for and has effectively received.
Chris January 01, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Actually, according to the CT Post, lawyer Irving Pinsky withdrew the lawsuit yesterday. He says he has new evidence pertaining to security at the school and needs to re-evaluate the case. Translation: He and his client misjudged the amount of negative publicity this has received, and the family needs to re-evaluate if it is worth ruining their lives and the life of their daughter over a chance to "hit the jackpot".

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