In a compelling follow-up to a story we covered earlier this week (Parents Of Surviving Sandy Hook Child File First Claim: Sue State For $100M), it’s been reported that New Haven attorney, Irving Pinsky, has now withdrawn that lawsuit:
Just days after filing a $100 million lawsuit claiming the state failed to adequately protect the students at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a New Haven lawyer has withdrawn it.
But that doesn’t preclude a future filing, Irving Pinsky said.
“I received new evidence on security at the school, which I need to evaluate,” Pinsky said Monday. […]
Pinsky said once he reviews the evidence, he will decide what “route to take.” [Source]
As was stated in our earlier report, a Sandy Hook family whose child survived the massacre but was present at the school during the shooting, apparently approached Pinsky in the week following the shooting to take their case. Pinsky, a controversial character who is pictured on his Facebook page in front of a van emblazoned with garish signs advertising his law practice, quickly filed against the state of Connecticut for $100 million. The move drew the ire of many, some of whom saw it as an ill-timed money-grab:
“Irv, I always knew you are a bit wacky and enjoy the spot light (sic) but you have gone too far with suing CT over Newtown. You don’t have a horse in the race and you are nothing but an opportunist seeking notoriety using dead children.” [Source]
But even more disturbing are the alleged death threats he’s received, a reaction alarming enough that the publicity-seeking Pinsky turned down an invitation from Fox’s Bill O’Reilly. As reported by the New Haven Independent:
More than 50 people have threatened to harm Irv Pinsky since he filed notice that he plans to sue the state in connection with the Newtown massacre, the New Haven lawyer said Tuesday.
Bill O’Reilly’s Fox TV program and others have called, too, asking him to appear on national TV, Pinsky said. He’s not heeding them either.
Why? He wants to avoid adding to the “divisiveness” that has erupted since he took the debate over the Newtown massacre into the legal realm, Pinsky said. […]
Since then CBS and Fox News, among others, have called asking him to appear on national television, Pinsky said. He said he decided not to milk the opportunity.
“I turned down Bill O’Reilly. I don’t like all the fuel on the fire. I don’t like the divisiveness with which America is being riven. It’s been riven before. Remember the Civil War? I remember Vietnam. I don’t to add to the divisiveness,” Pinsky said.
While that sentiment offers at least a modicum of positive spin to Pinsky’s trending negatives, and certainly no right-minded person would make or agree with threats of violence, he is getting little support from the legal community in his state. In response to Pinsky’s suggestion that he may re-file should new evidence compel such a move, the Attorney General of Connecticut, George Jepsen, affirmed that his office would defend the state against any claim Pinsky might file.
Reached Tuesday morning, Jepsen said he very much believes that there is no merit to a suit against the state—- and that the courts are the wrong venue for the issue.
“If you want exploration of the issues of gun violence and how they relate to people’s mental health issues, how it’s not young women out there shooting people, it’s young males … If you want to have an exploration of these issues there are better ways to go about it,” Jepsen said.
“I think his lawsuit is groundless, without basis. New facts may come out, and if you want to file a lawsuit then, fine. But based on the facts that are out there, there’s no grounds for this lawsuit, and there’s no legal theory for the lawsuit either. For example, it’s very well-established law that local school districts are” not state agencies “for the purposes of the issue of negligence. The premise of his lawsuit is badly flawed.” [Source]
Pinsky, however, maintains that the court system is the proper venue to expose the facts of the case and put pressure on the government to take more effective steps towards securing schools and better protecting children. While no one disputes the need for such measures, at question is the true intent of his filling (which many see as “ambulance chasing”), and his choice of venue. Even the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association have issued a statement disputing Pinsky’s actions:
“CTLA joins with all other citizens in CT in mourning the tragic loss of life in Newtown. We believe that the timing and circumstances of this action are ill-advised. We will continue to extend our heartfelt sympathies to the victims of the Newtown tragedy and we remain committed to joining the efforts of countless individuals in CT and around the country to find ways to assist the victims and families affected by this tragedy.” [Source]
While there are likely many legal actions that will arise out of this tragedy, the hasty move by Pinsky, particularly on behalf of parents who did not lose their child, remains rankling. As one commenter so poignantly put it:
“They were compensated when their child came home alive that day.” [Source]