A $100 million claim on behalf of a 6-year-old survivor is the first legal action to come out of the Connecticut school shooting that left 20 children and eight adults dead two weeks ago.
Attorney Irving Pinsky sent a notice of claim and request for permission to sue the state to Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. on Thursday on behalf of “Jill Doe, a minor child of six years of age and resident of Newtown, Connecticut.”
“We all know its going to happen again,” Pinsky said on Friday. “Society has to take action.”
He hopes suits such as this would bring legislators to act to change gun control laws.
Pinksy’s client, whom he calls “Jill Doe” in the claim, sustained “emotional and psychological trauma and injury” on Dec. 14 after gunman Adam Lanza forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and gunned down 20 children and six adults inside in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.
The child heard “conversations, gunfire and screaming” over Sandy Hook’s intercom after someone in the office apparently switched on the system, according to the claim. Pinsky said Saturday he didn’t know whether his client saw anyone die.
Pinsky said the student has been traumatized by the killings, and accused the state Board of Education, Department of Education and education commissioner of failing to protect students from “foreseeable harm.”
It said they had failed to provide a “safe school setting” or design “an effective student safety emergency-response plan and protocol.”
“It’s about living in a world that’s safe,” New Haven attorney Irving Pinsky told The Associated Press on Saturday. “The answer is about protecting the kids.”
The attorney said Saturday he didn’t want to reveal more about the 6-year-old or details about her experience during the shooting because of privacy concerns, says the Huff Post.
Pinsky said he was contacted by the girl’s parents within days of the shootings and agreed to take the case because “we must stand together to protect our children. If we don’t, nothing will change.”
The shooting, which also left the gunman dead, has prompted extensive debate about gun control and the suggestion by the National Rifle Association that schools be patrolled by armed guards. Police have said the gunman killed his mother at their home in Newtown before going to the school.
According to the News Times, the state’s claims commissioner has the power to determine whether many types of claims of damages or injuries lodged against the state government are just.
The commissioner, after reviewing evidence, and if necessary, scheduling hearings, can approve immediate payment of claims worth $7,500 and under; recommend the General Assembly pay or reject claims over $7,500; and allow lawsuits against Connecticut to proceed.
His decision can be appealed by only the Legislature.
The Inquisitr reports that despite the wide deluge of opinion and debate that has filled the void left in the wake of 20 murdered children, not everyone is on board with the lawsuit. In fact, many on the internet have outright condemned the claim.
“I know 20 parents that would love to have their child alive and traumatized,” wrote one Yahoo commenter (via MSN Now).
Many Twitter users have also sounded off on the Newtown lawsuit, finding that it is at the very least in poor taste for a surviving child’s parents to file the suit. The $100M pay-day makes it look like profiteering of the worst kind.