A New Haven attorney on Tuesday said that he is withdrawing his request for permission to sue the state for $100 million on behalf of a 6-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School student who survived the mass shootings last month.
Irving Pinsky said that he withdrew the filing because he received new evidence, though he reserves the right to refile for permission to sue.
"I received the evidence, but I haven't verified it yet," he said, declining to elaborate on what type of evidence it was or when he would reconsider filing.
In the past few days, Pinsky said he sent a letter to Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr., but hasn't received confirmation that it was received. Pinsky originally filed the notice last week with Vance. The student in the notice is identified only as "Jill Doe."
"She was in her classroom, and over the loudspeaker came the horrific confrontation between the fellow who shot everybody and other people," Pinsky said. "Her friends were killed. That's pretty traumatic."
Reports that Pinsky moved to withdraw his request were well-received by state Attorney General George Jepsen. "I'd be very happy if he does withdraw the claim. ... It's not supported by the facts or the law."
"If the state were liable in this instance, where would the state's liability ever end?" Jepsen said in an interview on Tuesday.
On Dec. 14, 20 students and six women were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The shooter, Adam Lanza, who also shot his mother at their home, committed suicide as police arrived at the school.
After filing the request to sue on the student's behalf, letters, emails and calls flooded Pinsky — among them death threats — a reaction he said "isn't completely aberrant."
"Just about every time a lawsuit hits the press, there's a litany of people who write these horrible letters," Pinsky said. When he represented Occupy New Haven last year with other lawyers, the letters and calls of protest came in as well.
But the response to his Sandy Hook request was far greater. "This case is more primal. ... It's national, so it's more intense."
Pinsky's claim says the state Board of Education, the state Department of Education and the education commissioner failed to take steps to protect the minor children from foreseeable harm.
"As a consequence, the claimant-minor child has sustained emotional and psychological trauma and injury, the nature and extent of which are yet to be determined," the claim says.
The state enjoys "sovereign immunity" against most lawsuits unless permission to sue is granted.
"Usually a fellow like Adam Lanza would have been known as a potential problem to the police," Pinsky said.
He said he filed the notice in order to "freeze" the evidence before insurance adjusters can "shape" it.
"This way the state of Connecticut will get the notice and they will have the attorney general's office and their investigators see what happened and why the school was not protected," he said.