Thirteen law professors have penned an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs in Soto et al v. Bushmaster et al. This is the Connecticut state case where Bushmaster, the distributor, and the FFL are being sued for negligent entrustment for selling an AR15 to the Newton murderer’s mother. The case is before the Connecticut Supreme Court on appeal after it was dismissed at the superior court level where the judge said negligent entrustment did not apply.
While a state Superior Court previously ruled negligent entrustment doesn’t apply in this case, the professors’ brief claims the “flexible tort has been applied to a range of domains, including firearms.”
The brief’s co-author, Stanford law professor Nora Freeman Engstrom, said negligent entrustment boils down to one question. “That is, did the defendant take adequate precautions given the magnitude of the foreseeable risk? And, here, the jury might ultimately find the defendant failed to take adequate precautions in their sale of military grade assault weapons to an untrained civilian population.”
Negligent entrustment occurs when a party provides a product to another party knowing the receiving party may injure someone.
The first case cited in their brief is State v. Skakel in support of their argument for a “flexible tort”. That was the murder case involving the Kennedy cousin who may or may not have killed a 15 year old girl with a golf club. As things would have it, Michael Skakel’s original attorney was my mom’s first cousin and the Skakel family attorney. How weird is that?
Among the group of attorneys on the brief is Prof. John J. Donohue III of Stanford University. Prof. Donohue is best known for his attacks on John Lott’s research.