Remington has been fighting a long-running court battle against a group of Sandy Hook parents and survivors. While the plaintiffs couldn’t sue Big Green because of the provisions of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, the plaintiffs’ attorneys got a court to let the case go forward under a questionable theory that the company had used misleading advertising — unfair trade practices — to sell the Bushmaster rifle that was used to murder 26 people.
That suit has been grinding its way through the courts (and racking up huge legal bills) for more than six years. But Remington recently filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection again and the court could decide shortly on a plan to auction off at least some of the company’s component parts.
The federal judge overseeing the bankruptcy case, Clifton R. Jessup in Decatur, Alabama, has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday on whether to approve the process, which would see Remington’s various businesses — which operate under the umbrella Remington Outdoor Co. — auctioned off as soon as Sept. 8.
Among those objecting most strenuously to the proposal are the families of nine of the 26 victims of the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which was carried out by a gunman using a Remington-made Bushmaster AR-15 rifle.
The Sandy Hook plaintiffs are worried the bankruptcy could let the company off the hook for the alleged wrongdoing they say contributed to the elementary school shooting. To keep that from happening, they want a seat at the table with creditors to decide how to divvy up Remington’s assets.
In a court filing on Aug. 7, the families said the proposed fast-track auction would “prevent Remington from ever answering for its role in the wrongful marketing of the weapon and that marketing’s causal role in the devastating loss of life at Sandy Hook Elementary School.”
They are asking the judge to slow down the process and to give liability claimants like them a seat on the official committee of unsecured creditors, which will help steer the bankruptcy process.
That’s not likely to happen. And even if it did, they wouldn’t they have enough of a say in the bankruptcy proceedings to make much of a difference.
The bankruptcy filing has also temporarily delayed another suit against Remington stemming from the Model 700 rifle trigger issues the company has been dealing with for more than a decade.
Speculation is that the court could clear the way to sell off the company’s ammunition businesses which includes Remington Ammunition and Barnes Bullets. Other attractive lines include Marlin, AAC and Dakota Arms.