One of the victims of the mass shooting in Uvalde was a child's parents. A Robb Elementary School employee fled the gunman and hiding in Robb Elementary School have begun to sue the gunmaker who made the AR-15-style rifle that was used in the attack.
Alfred Garza III, the father of a 10-year old girl who called 911 from her classroom after she was shot, stated that "my purpose for being here is to honor Amerie Jo’s memory." "She would like me to do all I can to ensure that this never happens again to any other child." She is my enemy.
Garza wrote Daniel Defense, through his attorneys, a letter informing him of his intent to investigate the claims against the gunmaker. He also issued a notice to keep all relevant documents. Kimberly Garcia's attorneys sent a similar note to the company.
According to court documents filed in Texas 38th Judicial District on Thursday, Emilia Marin, Robb Elementary speech therapy clerk, asked the court to order company officials to appear in court and produce material related to the gunmaker’s website, profits and lobbying for AR-15-style rifles such as the one used in this shooting.
These are the first legal proceedings taken in response to the mass shooting that resulted in the deaths of 19 children and two adults. Although not full-blown lawsuits these filings aim to determine if the gun manufacturer is able to be sued for its promotion of firearms.
Don Flanary is Marin's attorney.
The gunman, who was only 18, legally bought the ammunition and weapons used in the murder.
Parties can start collecting evidence in Texas before bringing a lawsuit under Rule 202. A pre-suit deposition is a filing that can be used to obtain testimony in anticipation of a lawsuit or to investigate a possible claim or suit.
Marin's petition also asks for information about the four Daniel Defense AR-15-style AR-15 rifles that were found in the Las Vegas hotel room of the 2017 Las Vegas shooter. Her lawyer says that they would like to see if the gun manufacturer changed its marketing strategy after their guns were used in this crime.
Daniel Defense, which is based in Georgia manufactured one of two AR-15-style assault rifles that Salvador Ramos, 18, purchased before attacking Uvalde school.
Ramos sent a screenshot of his receipt for the gun, which was purchased online, to friends on Instagram according to the Daily Dot.
The gunmaker has yet to respond to a request for comment. It acknowledges the tragedy on its website and promises to cooperate with all federal, state, and local investigators in relation to the shooting. The statement states that it will continue to keep the victims' families and Uvalde community in its thoughts and prayers.
Marin was not named but it is believed that she opened a back door to allow the shooter into the school. After Flanary, an attorney, shared her story with the San Antonio Express-News, the Texas Department of Public Safety denied that information. According to DPS, video footage at the school showed Marin closing her door behind her.
Steve McCraw, Director of DPS, initially stated that a teacher had opened the door. However, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent Schools District website lists Marin listed as a speech pathology clerk.
Although it was difficult to be falsely accused, Flanary stated that Marin seeks justice not from the responders but those who encouraged the attack.
Marin, through her attorney, declined to speak directly about her experience and the suit. Flanary claims she is receiving treatment for her psychological trauma.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre in 2012 saw the parents of the victims file a lawsuit. This is the template for the other legal actions against gunmakers. Garza is represented by San Antonio lawyers Charla Aldous and Mikal Watts. Joshua Koskoff, a lawyer representing Sandy Hook families. Experts warn that the odds of success in Texas are not good.
Gun manufacturers are not liable for the misuse of firearms by criminals, according to the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
This law has provided so much protection for manufacturers that litigation afterward has slowed to a trickle," stated Timothy Lytton (respected university professor at Georgia State University College of Law).
However, it allows for exceptions to this immunity.
Plaintiffs in the Sandy Hook lawsuit did not seek damages for the victims. They instead focused on Remington's advertising of its firearms.
Lytton stated that "What they argued at Sandy Hook was that the marketing practices were designed to appeal people who are at high-risk of criminal misuse of this weapon." According to court documents, Remington was accused by Sandy Hook families of selling military-style weapons to civilian customers in order for them not be stopped.
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of the manufacturer, under the Unfair Trade Practices Act. The U.S. Supreme Court did not intervene.
Remington's insurance company settled the civil lawsuit for $73 million earlier this year. The company is currently going through bankruptcy proceedings.
Under a similar pretext, a victim of April's shooting at the Brooklyn subway has sued gunmaker Glock.
According to The New York Times, Daniel Defense's weapons include a Star Wars-themed rifle and are a riff on popular culture. This could lead to the weapon being targeted at teens.
Daniel Defense posted a photo on Twitter showing a young boy holding an assault rifle as he purchased Ramos a weapon from the company.
It's unclear, however, if a suit against a maker in Texas would have the same success as in Connecticut with the Sandy Hook families.
One thing is that the Texas state consumer protection law doesn't have the same broad language as Connecticut's. Lytton stated that Texas courts might not be as supportive of the suit as Connecticut's.
Flanary states, "We are realistic about our future path," He also said that things are changing rapidly and that it was time to apply the pressure.