Remington asks SCOTUS to take on Sandy Hook lawsuit

Company manufactured Bushmaster AR-15 rifle

By SARAH JORGENSEN AND AUGUSTA ANTHONY, CNN
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Custom Remington pistols are displayed at the 146th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits on April 29, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.

(CNN) - Gun manufacturer Remington is asking the US Supreme Court to hear a lawsuit involving the company and families of Sandy Hook victims.

In a filing dated Friday, Remington asked the Connecticut Supreme Court for a motion of stay as it petitions the high court to hear its argument. Remington is asking the court to decide on the state's interpretation of a federal statute that grants gun manufacturers immunity from any lawsuit related to injuries that result from criminal misuse of their product.

The case could determine the degree to which gun manufacturers are liable for the marketing of their products. The Connecticut lawsuit is believed to be the first of its kind to reach the discovery phase after the enactment of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005, which grants immunity to manufacturers and is at the center of Remington's motion.

Remington manufactured the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle that the 20-year-old gunman used in the 2012 shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty children and six adults were killed in the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, in one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history.

Following a state court ruling last month, Remington says it's heading to the US Supreme Court because "the basis for jurisdiction in the Supreme Court is this court's decision on an important federal question that conflicts with a decision of a United States court of appeals."

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in March that Remington can be sued under state law for how it marketed the AR-15. State law does not permit advertisements that encourage criminal behavior, according to the decision.

However, Remington argues federal law should prevent the company from being sued.

The attorney for the Sandy Hook families, Josh Koskoff, said Remington's attempt to stay the case is merely a tactic to delay discovery.

"Remington's attempt to stay the case is simply another tactic designed to delay and prevent the families from learning the truth of what went on behind closed doors. Fortunately for all of us, transparency is a cornerstone of our civil justice system, and nobody -- not even Remington -- is above the law."

CNN has reached out to attorneys for Remington for additional comment.

In 2014, the families of nine of the victims filed a wrongful death suit against the manufacturers and distributors of the Bushmaster rifle. That case was dismissed in 2016 by Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis, citing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

However, Sandy Hook families appealed the dismissal, and last month, the Connecticut Supreme Court allowed the lawsuit against gun manufacturers to go forward. The families argue that the gun manufacturers knowingly marketed the gun to those who "carry out offensive, military style combat missions against their perceived enemies."

In their original complaint, the families cite some of the marketing practices allegedly used for the Bushmaster. For example, the Bushmaster Defendant's 2012 Bushmaster Product Catalog, the lawsuit says, shows "the silhouette of a soldier holding his helmet against the backdrop of an American flag" and "text that reads 'when you need to perform under pressure, Bushmaster delivers.' "

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect Remington's position on why the US Supreme Court should hear the case.

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