Debate Magazine

Sandy Hook Families Each Gets $94k to Settle Lawsuits Against Lanza Estate

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

Americans are notorious for our litigiousness. One of the many curiosities of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings of December 14, 2012, is that, unlike other school shootings, the families of the alleged victims of alleged killer Adam Lanza had not filed lawsuits. (See my post of March 29, 2014, “Why are there no Sandy Hook lawsuits?”)

Two long years after the alleged massacre, however, some of them finally sued, although each victim family had already received MILLIONS of dollars in donations from individual Facebook sites, organized Sandy Hook charities like United Way, and the $11.6 million Sandy Hook School Support Fund. Some of those Facebook and charity sites, curiously, had been created before the alleged massacre, that is, before the alleged victims actually became victims. See:

  •  Sandy Hook victims’ funds reap millions of dollars in donation
  • Sandy Hook RIP/donation webpages created BEFORE the massacre
  • Another Sandy Hook fundraiser that pre-dates the massacre

Three groups of defendants are the targets of lawsuits:

  1. The manufacturer, distributor and seller of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle allegedly wielded by Lanza.
  2. The town of Newtown and its board of education.
  3. The estate of Nancy Lanza — Adam’s mother whom he allegedly had killed before he allegedly drove to the school — for carelessly allowing her son access to the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle that he allegedly used in the alleged massacre.

For more on the above lawsuits, please see my post “Sandy Hook families sue Lanza estate, as Newtown demolishes the Lanza home”.

Andrew Gorosko reports for The Newtown Bee, August 3, 2015, that the 16 plaintiffs in lawsuits that were filed earlier this year against the estate of Nancy Lanza would receive nearly $94,000 each in a proposed settlement of those legal claims., according to a July 31 letter by Angelo A. Ziotas to Probate Judge Joseph A. Egan, Jr.

Ziotas is the attorney representing one of the litigants, the estate of child victim James Mattioli.

The other plaintiffs are:

  • The estates (i.e., families) of child victims Emilie Parker, Grace McDonnell, Jack Pinto, Charlotte Bacon, Jessica Rekos, Daniel Barden, Dylan Hockley, Jesse Lewis, and Benjamin Wheeler.
  • The estates of adult teachers Rachel D’Avino, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto.
  • Teachers Natalie Hammond and Deborah Pisani whom Lanza had wounded, not killed.

According to Ziotas, the 16 plaintiffs each would receive equal portions of the $1.5 million value of a home insurance policy that Nancy Lanza had on her house at 36 Yogananda Street. When that amount is divided by 16, each of the plaintiffs would receive $93,750 from the insurance firm.

The Lanza home at 36 Yogananda St., now demolished

The Lanza home at 36 Yogananda St., now demolished

According to the lawsuit filed by the majority of the plaintiffs, Nancy Lanza, at some point before the shooting incident, bought a Bushmaster AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle. The suit states: “The weapon was an assault rifle designed for military use in modern warfare. The Bushmaster was built to spray rapid fire and pierce body armor in order to inflict maximum casualties on the battlefield, but was sold to the general public by its manufacturer and various other business entities, even though it had no practical civilian purpose for self-defense or reasonable sporting activities.”

The lawsuit claims that Nancy Lanza carelessly and with negligence kept the gun stored unsecured in her home where Adam Lanza had access to it, which was a “substantial factor” in the deaths and injuries of the plaintiffs. The lawsuit filed on behalf of the Mattioli estate states that Nancy allowed her son access to the weapon although she knew or should have known that “his mental and emotional condition made him a danger to others.”

The defendant named in the lawsuits is Samuel Starks, the administrator of Nancy Lanza’s estate, who estimated the family home at 36 Yogananda St., to be worth about $64,000. But the house, in an affluent section of Newtown, was assessed at $523,000 at one point, according to The Hartford Courant .

Vision Government Solutions had the ownership history for 36 Yogananda as:

  • Sold to Estate of Nancy J. Lanza on 2/1/2013 for $0
  • Sold to Nancy Lanza on 2/8/2011 for $0

Note: When a house changes hands from one family member to another, as in a divorce, the sale of the property is usually listed as $0. See also “The strange purchase date and price of Sandy Hook homes.”

The last time I checked, the ownership of the house had reverted to Ryan Lanza, Adam’s older brother. But The Courant says that “The house was donated to the town [Newtown] by a New Jersey bank that took over the mortgage that Nancy Lanza had on the property.”

In January, the city of Newtown voted to demolish the Lanza home, just as the city had also demolished Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHES), allegedly for asbestos contamination (see “Was Sandy Hook Elementary School already abandoned before the massacre“).

Consigli Construction

The construction workers of Consigli Construction who tore down the school were all sworn to secrecy by signing confidentiality agreements forbidding public discussion of the site, photographs or disclosure of any information about the building. Why the secrecy?

Note: The Italian word consigli means “advice or counsel,” as in consigliere to a mafia don or crime boss.

The family-owned Consigli Construction Construction is also building a new replacement SHES, with a generous grant of $50 million from the State of Connecticut, i.e., Connecticut taxpayers.

According to The Newtown Bee, in 2002, engineering consultants had recommended to the Sandy Hook school district that SHES be merely renovated with upgrades to the school’s ventilation systems to meet indoor air quality codes, at a cost of $5 million. The work was supposed to have begun in 2010, over a 9-month period, which meant Sandy Hook Elementary School likely was already abandoned before the massacre.

So the same construction company has the lucrative contract to both tear down the asbestos-contaminated old school and rebuild a $50 million new one. Pretty neat deal.

In October 2014, Consigli broke ground for the new $50 million 87,000 sq.-ft. state-of-the-art school to replace the old 70,000 sq. ft. building. The new building “will include three classroom wings, two of which are two-stories that overlook central courtyards. Breakout spaces in the form of treehouses will be built to create an alternate learning environment. The new school will incorporate the most current and advanced educational approaches, security and design.”

Sandy Hook Elementary School

new Sandy Hook Elementary School

For all the posts FOTM has published on Sandy Hook, go to our “Sandy Hook Massacre” page.


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