In the ever-evolving twists and turns of the horrifying Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of December 14, it has been reported that the first lawsuit has been filed by the unnamed parents of a surviving, uninjured 6-year-old child who was present at the school at the time of the shooting.
In a move that appears to have set off a significant negative reaction from those who consider the more grievous damage to be inflicted on the families whose children were killed, the family defends their lawsuit against the state of Connecticut as being “not about the money,” but rather because the Board of Education, Department of Education and Education Commissioner did not provide a “safe school setting” or design “an effective student safety emergency response plan and protocol.” [Source]
According to Reuters, New Haven-based attorney, Irv Pinsky, was approached by the family within a week of the shooting and hired to file the suit:
Pinsky said he filed a claim on Thursday with state Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr., whose office must give permission before a lawsuit can be filed against the state.
“We all know its going to happen again,” Pinsky said on Friday. “Society has to take action.” […]
The unidentified client, referred to as Jill Doe, heard “cursing, screaming, and shooting” over the school intercom when the gunman…opened fire….” 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.
While no one doubts the trauma and shock experienced by any child who was present at the time of the shooting, the consensus of opinion expressed by hundreds of commenters at every news source that’s run the story is overwhelming negative. The sense is that the school district of the small state, one that has limited funds and resources with which to run a school much less prevent the solitary act of a disturbed man with military-grade weaponry, is being unfairly targeted by a family who appears to have moved quickly to monetize the situation. While no one would debate that they have a legitimate claim of a “traumatized child,” the sheer monetary size of the suit, as well as the choice of person hired to file it, have raised hackles.
Irv Pinsky’s Facebook page features an Obama banner (enigmatic in its political point) and includes photos of him (like the one below) that offer a less-than-professional image. And speaking of Facebook, the groundswell of negative response has compelled at least one person to open a Facebook page called “Irv Pinsky is a Greedy Scumbag,” which is already accruing some fans.
As for the lawsuit he hopes will prevail, Pinsky is moving forward with all the righteousness of a crusader. As reported by the Daily Mail:
Pinsky said he hopes to review the evidence and prove that the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary were foreseeable.
He said he filed the notice in order to ‘freeze’ the evidence before insurance adjusters can ‘shape’ it.
‘This way the state of Connecticut will get the notice and they will have the attorney general’s office and their investigators see what happened and why the school was not protected,’ he said.
There will likely be many more lawsuits related to the Sandy Hook shooting; the parents who lost children will, at some point, likely consider filing claims on behalf of their deceased child and the impact of their loss. And while there is tremendous sympathy and compassion felt for those families, as well as the families of the surviving children and adults who experienced the horror of that day, the timing, the claim, the amount, and the chosen attorney to file this “first” lawsuit have left a sour taste for many. Whatever the family’s authentic intent, perception is sometimes more powerful than the actuality. More will surely be revealed in days to come.