$100 Million Claim Filed in Newtown School Massacre

12/31/2012 6:21:00 AM, Christine Stuart
     NEW HAVEN (CN) - A New Haven attorney has asked for permission to sue Connecticut for $100 million, for a 6-year-old client who heard the gunfire and screams of her classmates at the Newtown school massacre.
     Attorney Irving Pinsky filed a Notice of Claim and Request for Permission to Sue with Connecticut Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr.
     The claimant, 6-year-old Jill Doe, and her John and Jane Doe parents all live in Newtown.
     Pinsky wants to sue the state Board of Education, the Connecticut Department of Education, and the Education Commissioner for the psychological damage the child suffered, and for failing "to take steps to protect said minor child from foreseeable harm in ways including, but not limited to, failure to provide a safe school setting at Sandy Hook Elementary School."
     "During the morning of December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, with one or more semi-automatic weapons, including a .223 caliber Bushmaster, walked into a classroom, and proceeded to shoot and kill twenty children and six adults," the claim states. "Claimant-minor child Jill Doe was a student on the premises who heard all of the subject events as they were occurring, including conversations, gunfire, and screaming, and including so much of said events as were being transmitted through an intercom or public address system in the school."
     Pinsky said Friday that five of the 20 students who were killed were Doe's friends. He told Courthouse News in a telephone interview that he needed to file the claim quickly because he fears insurance adjusters will try to minimize the damage or alter evidence.
     "The State Board of Education, Connecticut Department of Education, State Commissioner of Education Failed to take steps to protect minor children from foreseeable harm in ways including, but not limited to, failure to provide a safe school setting at Sandy Hook Elementary School; failure to determine whether the Newtown Board of Education had provided a safe school setting at said school; failure to take steps to insure that the Newtown Board of Education had in fact provided a safe school setting; failure to review and carefully scrutinize annual Strategic School Profile Reports of both the Newtown School District and Sandy Hook Elementary School and other submissions with respect to student safety and emergency response planning and protocol; failure to require Sandy Hook Elementary School and Newtown Board of Education to formulate and implement an effect student safety emergency response plan and protocol," according to Pinsky's 2-page notice of claim.
     The claims commissioner will have to approve the claim before Pinsky files it in court.
     On Monday afternoon (Dec. 31), Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen issued this statement: "As attorney general, my office has a statutory obligation to defend this claim. 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." Attachment