Lawyer Withdraws $100 Million Suit on Behalf of Child “Traumatized” at Sandy Hook (at Least for the Moment)

Hi Readers! Here’s one I could have — and also could NOT have — predicted: Parents of one of the children who was NOT SHOT DEAD at Sandy Hook obtained a lawyer and were hoping to sue the state for $100 million . According to this Reuters story:

The unidentified client, referred to as Jill Doe, heard “cursing, screaming, and shooting” over the school intercom when the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, opened fire, according to the claim filed by New Haven-based attorney Irv Pinsky.

“As a consequence, the … child has sustained emotional and psychological trauma and injury, the nature and extent of which are yet to be determined,” the claim said….

Pinsky’s claim said that the state Board of Education, Department of Education and Education Commissioner had failed to take appropriate steps to protect children from “foreseeable harm.”

But after a slew of, let’s say, uncharitable comments on his Facebook page, Pinksy just withdrew the suit. He added, however, “we reserve all rights to bring up this request again.”  That’s the spirit! Never say never!

How do I loathe even the IMPULSE behind this suit? Let me count the ways:

1 – Cursing? For real? This is part of the complaint? The child was exposed to cursing and this is a legitimate part of the reason she will never be the same? If someone had cursed over the loudspeaker and there had NOT been a maniacal killer on the premises, would the parents have sued for only, say, $3.7 million?

2 – This is about future psychological trauma? Is it simply NOT POSSIBLE the child could end up psychologically OKAY? (Or at least had a fighting chance till her folks  became the poster parents for twisted American opportunism?) Why must we assume victimhood lasts forever? Don’t some people end up changed, yes, but not necessarily irreparably damaged after a terrible experience? Is there no hope for the human spirit?

3 – Um, $100 million? Because that money would be so much better spent soothing a single family’s pain than it would on ANYTHING else the state might need some cash to pay for? Including, oh I don’t know, maybe first responders, like the ones who saved kids like THEIR OWN CHILD from DEATH?

4 – Foreseeable harm. Clearly the school just wasn’t forseeing hard enough when it locked its doors, taught its kids “lockdown” drills and refused admittance to Adam Lanza  (till he shot his way in).

5 – Your outrage here. Feel free to fulminate.

Like Lanza himself, whose actions ignited an international debate about guns, schools and safety, maybe this stuttering lawsuit will ignite a debate about how to stop thinking this way — thinking that every tragedy is preventable, that someone besides the perp is at fault, that demands for outlandish amounts of money make  moral sense, and that the courts are where misery should go gunning for vengeance.

Maybe we need a candlelight vigil for the death of decency. – L

court

Suing Connecticut for the Sandy Hook shooting. What could be more American?

29 Responses to Lawyer Withdraws $100 Million Suit on Behalf of Child “Traumatized” at Sandy Hook (at Least for the Moment)

  1. craig January 2, 2013 at 12:23 am #

    I was shocked and saddened when I first heard of this ridiculous lawsuit. I assumed from the headline I read they were suing whatever estate the Lanza family left behind (which at least has SOME logic), but to bilk the taxpayers for $100 million because your daughter SURVIVED.

    Some people don’t know how to count their blessings.

  2. meghann January 2, 2013 at 12:37 am #

    There is apparently some speculation locally that he did not actually have a client but rather put this “out there” to see if he could lure an actual family into “joining” the suit. If that is the case, and no one took the bait, he could be “withdrawing” the suit because he doesn’t actually have standing to file one.

    I choose to believe this speculation, because I hate to consider the thought that any parent of any child at that school would be so crass as to agree to be a party to a lawsuit because their child was traumatized by other children at the school being killed…

  3. Lisa Jones January 2, 2013 at 1:29 am #

    When I first heard of this, I assumed that it was a child that had been injured very badly but did not have medical insurance. In those situations, a family is milked dry trying to take care of the insane medical costs, so this is often their only avenue, besides immediately filing bankrupcy. Which is why sometimes states try to set up funds for people injured, so they don’t sue them for millions. I did think that 100 million was very large… but then I learned that there were only three people admitted for injuries to the hospital and the only one to stay overnight was an adult, who was still not very injured. So this is awful. Lawyers and these types of parents are the worse. What kind of community ostracizing would you be subjecting yourself to, anyways?

  4. Donald January 2, 2013 at 2:21 am #

    Not surprising

    There are a lot of people no sense of morals. Their strategy is to trump up a nuisance case (regardless of how sickening it is) and hope that people will settle out of court. Bottom feeders like that really turn my stomach.

    @meghann is true the he could file without actually having a client? The law allows him to do that? Is there any chance that he could lose his license?

    Why don’t lawyers gang up against people like this that make all lawyers hated?

  5. Owen Allen January 2, 2013 at 3:11 am #

    Strange. One thing we, downunder, always worry about of our American family, that we also would become so litigious. Yet for some reason the question that pops forefront of my mind is “How do we raise a resilient culture?” Yes, negligence laws are necessary because there are inconsiderate, greedy morons who will set up dangerous situations to make a greater profit. Then again there are inconsiderate, greedy morons who see a technical legal loophole to make greater profit. Am I missing something in the make-up of people dangerous in society? Then again, I suspect Lanza happened upon his mindset because his world was a considerate, generous, open-hearted place. (Yes – sarcasm).

  6. Abby January 2, 2013 at 7:24 am #

    What’s sick is that this lawyer probably sought out the client, not the other way around. I’m willing to bet that starting almost immediately after the shootings, attorneys jumped on these shaken families (probably including the poor families who lost their children that day), pretending to feel bad for them but really just trying to make money off of them. This is probably not the last case we will hear about, coming out of Connecticut.

  7. Amy January 2, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    100 million sued from taxpayers, including those whose children never made it home that day.

  8. Maresi January 2, 2013 at 7:40 am #

    It’s been said by multiple sources that because the intercoms were turned on, more teachers, students, and staff were able to get themselves out of harms way. They heard the ‘cursing, screaming, and shooting’ and quickly acted to hide or get out of the way. If this family for whom he filed suit did really exist and seek the attorney’s help (which I doubt, I think the attorney is just a parasite), they should probably learn some perspective. As awful as their child’s experience was, remembering that an ALIVE child who may need some future psychological attention is better than more kids dying, unaware that danger was heading their way.

  9. Robin January 2, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    I live very close to Newtown. My husband grew up in Newtown. It is my understanding that much of the 3 million $ donated already is being put aside to provide counseling to the surviving students, teachers, first responders, and family members. For someone to sue for financial gain sickens me. Children are very resilient, or as I say, they bounce well :). I think that there is not going to be all that much phsychological damage amoung the children. As for the adults, and first responders, well, I don’t know if 3 million will cover it :(

  10. Miriam January 2, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    There is so many things wrong on so many levels regarding this supposed “lawsuit” that there is no where to start commenting. What died, died years ago; common sense.

  11. Lisa January 2, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    I’m not surprised. Disheartened, but not surprised. Several years ago, there was a bus accident here in the city, and within a few days, over two dozen people filed lawsuits with the city for their injuries. Video tape from the bus showed that it was actually empty (except for the driver) at the time of the accident. Attorneys hadn’t even checked their clients stories before filing and looked very foolish.

  12. Selby January 2, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Jill Doe? Really? If the trauma was so great that you have to seek $100M, yet you can’t attach your name to the quest, the trauma wasn’t that great. Stand up, stand forth, say your name. Otherwise shut up.

  13. Andrea January 2, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Yes, it is horrid. I can only hope that it was out of a sense of deep emotional vulnerability and outrage that the lawyer and these parents did this. I’m sure that being so close to it was beyond painful and scary. And our community did what it is supposed to do when someone is outside the norm. They pushed back and kept him in check. And then he backed down. I think it is supposed to work this way.

  14. Warren January 2, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    @Robin

    Unfortunately the surviving classmates will be emotionally scarred for life. More so because of what will happen in the future.
    These children will not be able to deal with what happened and move on with their lives. They will be constantly reminded of that day, by some well meaning people, but also by the majority of people that feel they need to hold annual memorials for the victims.
    You know this is going to happen. Everyyear for the rest of their lives they will relive what happened. And why so that those not involved can feel better about themselves, by holding these memorials. The media will descend on the town every year, reporters will ask them for updates, how they feel and so on.
    We have to stop holding these media circus events. We have to let the people involved move on, and deal with life, on their own, without all of us so wrongly feeling it is our right or obligation to get involved in their grieving.

  15. CrazyCatLady January 2, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Warren, while I agree that for the next few years they will be reminded constantly, I suspect after that they will be slowly forgotten. Only when bad things happen will this come up…much like the Titanic.

    When, before this event in December, was the last time you heard about the Amish school shooting? Or even better yet, the Oklahoma City bombing?

    I suspect that many of these families will be moving away in the coming year, just to escape those annual reminders (because I am sure that will be happening there, and no, I would not want to be there for those.)

    Agree totally that we need to get rid of the media circus!

  16. Marion January 2, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    “Unfortunately the surviving classmates will be emotionally scarred for life. More so because of what will happen in the future.
    These children will not be able to deal with what happened and move on with their lives.”

    You are making an assumption that isn’t necessarily true. Children have survived the Holocaust, genocide, wars, and family violence that ends in death. Most DO deal with what happened and move on. Most live productive lives and raise healthy families of their own.

    Yes, this event will have some impact, but it doesn’t mean they will be damaged for life.

  17. Sarah January 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Has anyone heard any information about what if any perscription drugs Adam Lanza may have been on? I have heard rumors but no conformations. In fact it supprises me that I have not heard any of the major news networks even mention if they were doing any toxicology reports. Many of the perscription anti-depressants have suicidal thoughts as a side effect.

  18. Gina January 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    This is exactly why schools make ridiculous rules and have ridiculous “safety” measures in place. At my son’s high school, the Monday following Sandy Hook, the kids were told over the PA System..”Now you know why we all must wear our ID’s.”….Seriously? It’s all about pleasing the public to prevent these kinds of lawsuits.

  19. Michael January 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    “4 – Foreseeable harm.” – In this day and age when we overreact to any tragedy by wanting to be seen to be “doing something” to make kids safer (as if they aren’t as safe as they could humanly be already!) it would only be a matter of time before ridiculous suits were going to be brought.

    For example I read recently about a school district in Alberta, Canada banning lanyards after one child almost choked when his got caught on a bathroom door. Hypothetically, someone somewhere is bound to come up with the unholy idea of suing, reasoning that “you ban them now but surely they were just as dangerous before so you put my child in foreseeable harm.”

    And so, now the Sandy Hook tragedy that is being exploited… sign of the times unfortunately.

  20. walkamungus January 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    The State of CT has sovereign immunity in any case, so a separate board would have to determine if a lawsuit could move forward.

    CT Attorney General’s statement: “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 CT Trial Lawyers Association is also backing away.

  21. Warren January 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    @Marion

    The kids that have survived your examples, will not be interviewed or called for interviews years to come, to see how they are doing on the anniversary of the event.

    And pretty much yes, year after year all these types of horrific events are memorialized, and though not nationally, most definitely on a local scale.

    We’ll go back even further to the shooting at the Nursing School in Montreal. Every year they hold a candlelight vigil, every year it is covered by the news, every year women’s groups shout at violence by men against women.

    Humans need to learn how to learn from these things, deal with them and move on. Stop bringing them up year after year. 25 years from now, on it’s anniversary no one will remember the name of any victim. But they do remember the name of the shooter. And we wonder why sickos choose to do these things. They become infamous. Way to go society.

  22. Ellen January 2, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    My first reaction on hearing this, was not that it was for financial gain, but that it was someone pushing a political agenda about forcing the state to enact gun control laws, and using the child/family as a pawn. No parents in their right minds who were concerned about their child’ mental health, would put them through a lawsuit like this – they would have to testify, and have psychologists testify, etc. I am glad the suit has been withdrawn, either because the parents wised up, or because as pp suggested, there was no real client to begin with.

  23. dancing on thin ice January 2, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    This lawyer is fairly well known but not highly regarded in another Connecticut city. He had a large banner sign near the hospital with a 1-800 number.
    i know people on his Facebook page who may have posted some of the comments that changed his mind (what little he has of one.) I’ve heard that he has won many of his cases from plaintiffs making him just to go away.
    Just another potential chapter fora followup Phillip K. Howard’s book “Life Without Lawyers”.

  24. Donald January 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    I’m thrilled that he changed his mind and consider it a victory!
    Sure, he may change his mind again and file the lawsuit.

    However, I’m pleased that he was under pressure to withdraw in the first place. I’m excited that pressure even exists for ambulance chasers. I wonder if the pendulum is swinging the other way. Could it be that the percentage of lawyers that are low life’s are on the decline?

  25. mollie January 2, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    Because enormous wealth makes all of your pain go away.

    Hey, it worked for the shooter!

  26. Donald January 2, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    Schools should take action against ‘Foreseeable harm’.

    They should all be built with a wall around them that’s constructed similar to The Berlin Wall. There should be razor wire and armed guards with machine guns.

  27. Jodie February 1, 2013 at 12:26 am #

    As if children don’t hear cursing every single day these days. I heard a lot of it growing up. Maybe I should sue my mom for having boyfriends who cursed, and for cursing herself. Have human beings lost all perspective about everything? God help us all!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] The lawyer who filed a $100 million claim with the state of Connecticut over the Newtown shooting “said the lawsuit isn’t about the money,” though he’s withdrawn it at least for a while following a public outcry. [Greenwich Time, earlier, background on Not-about-the-Money-ism] More: Lenore Skenazy. […]

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