Lawyer withdraws petition to file $100 million Sandy Hook claim against state — for now

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A New Haven attorney has hastily withdrawn his petition to file a $100 million lawsuit alleging that the state of Connecticut failed to adequately protect students at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“I received new evidence on security at the school, which I need to evaluate,” Irving Pinsky told the Stamford Advocate. He had filed the complaint days earlier.

A revised filing may be in the cards, Pinsky added.

“We haven’t decided which route to take yet,” he said. “A lot depends on the evidence we uncover.”

If Pinsky chooses to amend the suit, he must re-submit paperwork to the state’s claims commissioner, who decides if claims against the state can proceed.

Pinsky filed the $100 million lawsuit in the wake of Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn. On Dec. 14, Adam Lanza, 20, fatally shot 20 young children and six adults before committing suicide.

The plaintiffs in the potential lawsuit are the parents of a six-year-old girl who survived Lanza’s murder spree. According to the New Haven Independent, the now-withdrawn suit asserted that the girl was traumatized by the “cursing, screaming and shooting” she heard over the loudspeaker inside Sandy Hook Elementary.

One reason Pinsky withdrew the suit, at least for the time being, is to “calm the divisiveness and tremors” it has created, notes The Independent.

The attorney, who previously represented Occupy New Haven activists, says he has been the subject of a wave of criticism via telephone, Facebook and other forms of communication. By his own estimation, Pinsky has received some 50 death threats.

Some people have threatened Pinsky with “shooting,” The Independent notes. Other messages say things such as “I want to shit on you.”

“I get them from Texas, Alabama, Georgia. I get them from Connecticut too,” Pinsky said. “I’m sick of it.”

Other critics have been more circumspect.

“Irv, I always knew you are a bit wacky and enjoy the spot light but you have gone too far with suing CT over Newtown,” read a post by Rich Evans on Pinsky’s Facebook page, according to The Advocate. “You don’t have a horse in the race, and you are nothing but an opportunist seeking notoriety using dead children.”

Even the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association got into the act, issuing a statement calling Pinsky’s filing “ill-advised.”

Pinsky has also received some positive feedback, though.

“Sometimes parting with money is the only language that governments understand,” Facebook member Christine Klezun Ladewig wrote, according to The Advocate. “I hope that what will come out of this is that no other child or parent ever have to go through this again. We should feel safe sending our babies to school. I don’t for a minute believe you are doing this for the money and hope that some of it can go into a scholarship fund. Blessings to you Irv!”

George Jepsen, Connecticut’s attorney general, told The Advocate that his staff is prepared to defend the state against any claims that might make it to court.

“Although the investigation is still under way, we are aware of no facts or legal theory under which the state of Connecticut should be liable for causing the harms inflicted at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Jespen said.

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Eric Owens