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Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:39 AM

Could the Newtown shooter's estate be sued?

If the Newtown shooter (or any other shooter) left some assets after his death, could his victims' families sue his estate?

(Not that this would in any way make up for the family's loss.)

And if so, do you think they would be successful?

Come to think of it, since the shooter killed his mother before killing himself, he could have inherited some assets from her.

If someone was wounded or disabled by a shooter, at least this might help with some of their medical bills.


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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply Could the Newtown shooter's estate be sued? (Original post)
raccoon Dec 2012 OP
OneMoreDemocrat Dec 2012 #1
davidn3600 Dec 2012 #2
GeorgeGist Dec 2012 #3
HooptieWagon Dec 2012 #4
kestrel91316 Dec 2012 #5
HooptieWagon Dec 2012 #8
dairydog91 Dec 2012 #6
JVS Dec 2012 #7
TorchTheWitch Dec 2012 #9
SoCalDem Dec 2012 #10
TorchTheWitch Dec 2012 #11
SoCalDem Dec 2012 #13
TorchTheWitch Dec 2012 #17
SoCalDem Dec 2012 #18
Lex Dec 2012 #15
KinMd Dec 2012 #12
NutmegYankee Dec 2012 #16
kiranon Dec 2012 #14

Response to raccoon (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:41 AM

1. Probably, but maybe not in this case...

 

I don't think you get to inherit much when you kill your parent(s).

Also, who's estate would they sue? The kid didn't have anything and the Mother couldn't be held responsible (as far as we know, unless she gave him the weapons herself).

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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:46 AM

2. Don't think Adam had anything

His mother had assets and was taking care of him. And I don't think you will be very successful suing her estate.

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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:49 AM

3. Yes

but more likely his mother's estate will be sued for gross negligence.

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:15 PM

4. It will be difficult to prove.

You'd have to prove she knew her son was dangerous - difficult if he hadn't shown any previous signs of violence or intent. Then you'd have to prove she was negligent in the storage of the weapons based on her knowledge of her son's condition.
We don't know that she knew in advance the threat her son posed. We don't know to what extent she secured her guns. We don't know to what lengths the son went to access the guns. When that information is released, it's possible a case can be made...also possible a case can't be made.

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Response to HooptieWagon (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:58 PM

5. Word is, she was trying to have him committed. That's a clear indicator that

she believed he was a danger to SOMEONE.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:43 PM

8. No it's not.

Its only a clear indication she wasn't able to take care of him at home, by herself. It doesn't necessarily mean she (or anyone else) knew he was capable of or planning a violent act.

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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:10 PM

6. Probably. But what would he have?

And I'd be amazed if you can inherit money from your mother through matricide. I think probate laws usually preclude that option.

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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:14 PM

7. Probably, but it might take some time to work out the complications.

Next of kin issues are complex when you're talking about someone killing the person from whom they inherit. Did the shooter have siblings?

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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:12 PM

9. No

Her Will likely divided her assets between her two sons. Since Adam is dead, his inherited assets would go to the other son. In cases where one of the beneficiaries of the estate dies from the same incident (say, a car accident or murder or murder/suicide which this was) but the estate holder dies immediately while the one beneficiary involved in the incident lingers for a time before dying it is considered that they both died simultaneously for the purpose of passing along the assets of the estate. In this case, it would be assumed that both the mother and Adam died simultaneously since they both died because of the same incident, in which case the entire estate would likely all go to her living son.

Provisions like this are usually spelled out in a Will anyway as a basic clause, but it doesn't matter since this is how it's done with people that have no Will or a very basic will that they wrote themselves that doesn't include this clause at the time of their death.

If she didn't have a Will (which is very unlikely) it would be the same since her two sons as her next of kin would be assumed to be the only beneficiaries, and since the one died the assets would still go to the other living son.

The estate of the shooter (Adam) can't be sued at any time during this passage of the estate since he never actually HAD any of the estate that was passed to him from his mother. HER assets that she passed on can't be sued since she's not a guilty party, and the living son who likely gets her assets also can't be sued since he isn't a guilty party either.

I suppose someone could sue for whatever assets Adam had just before he died that were HIS own assets, but seeing as he owned next to nothing as he was provided for everything by his mother, there is no estate of Adam's to sue. He had no assets before he died and no assets after he died as his portion of his mother's assets would automatically have passed to her living son.

Now, just to complicate things even more... it doesn't actually have to be the same incident. If the asset holder and one of the beneficiaries of the estate die close enough together even in entirely different circumstances before the estate of the asset holder has a chance to be processed it's still assumed that the asset holder and the one beneficiary who died before the estate could be processed it's STILL assumed that they died simultaneously.

For example, say in this case that the mom (Nancy) died of a heart attack, and before her estate had an opportunity to be processed so that her assets would pass to her sons (Adam and Ryan) Adam then goes on his rampage and kills himself in the process. So, even though Nancy and Adam in this scenario died in entirely different circumstances, because they died so close together in time that Nancy's assets never had a chance to be processed so that Adam's portion could become his own assets before he died, it is STILL assumed that Nancy and Adam died simultaneously for the purpose of passing along the estate. So, the other son, Ryan, would still get all the assets from his mother and Adam is entirely bypassed because he died too close in time to his mother for his portion to ever get a chance to pass on to him.

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Response to TorchTheWitch (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:30 PM

10. Any assets may have actually "belonged" to the Dad anyway. He paid her a tidy sum of alimony

every year, so she may have been living in the home that might have still been owned by Dad. She apparently did not work full time at anything that paid her an income.

Looks like Dad bought his way out of that whole scene.

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 04:18 PM

11. mom and dad's assets would have been divided as a result of the divorce

That's just part of divorce. She got the house and X amount of money. Dad doesn't get to have them back. They were officially hers as per their divorce settlement, and any of her assets go to her next of kin which is not him since they are no longer married. Now that she's dead, he no longer has to pay alimony but he doesn't get to have any that he did pay until she died back - it became hers as per their divorce settlement each time he paid it.

I hardly imagine that he's thrilled that she was murdered by their son so he doesn't have to pay alimony anymore. That's just sick. He lost an ex-wife he was married to for many many years at the hands of one of his own son's that killed himself the same day and murdered a bunch of people mostly little kids. I hardly think he's feeling any joy that with all this because he no longer has to pay alimony. What a grotesque and cruel thing to suggest.


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Response to TorchTheWitch (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:31 PM

13. The home may not have been in her name

A settlement could have been very easily structured so that she lived there free of charge since the son was with her..

I never suggested that he was happy to be free of alimony...just that he bought his way out with the large alimony and perhaps the house as well..

Rich men buy their way out of marriages all the time.

She could have had very few :assets: of her own..

I personally know people who have held onto a house, post divorce for this very reason.. He got the deduction for interest paid and retained ownership, and the wife continued to live there with the kids.

Perhaps you have read the divorce settlement.. I was only opining what "could" have been a settlement that would have given her a place to live, money to live on, and yet not retain much as "assets"

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:02 PM

17. She got the house in the divorce settlement

That's all anyone needs to know whether or not she owned the house. OF COURSE she owned the house if she got it as part of the divorce settlement. Good Christ, do you really think either her or her attorney would be so epically STUPID to take the house as part of the settlement and leave it in his name??? That would mean she DIDN'T get it in the settlement and he still owned it and could throw her out of it at any time he pleased. Who in their right mind would accept that??? How does one even go about convincing a divorce attorney (or any Joe or Jane off the street) that as part of the FINANCIAL settlement mom gets the house but doesn't REALLY get the house by him still owning it and having the ability to toss her out on her ass whenever he felt like it? The house was a huge financial asset that had EVERYTHING to do with how much alimony per month would have been acceptable.

There is NO QUESTION she owned the house because it was part of the FINANCIAL divorce settlement because divorce settlements ARE financial - it is the dividing up of the assets that were owned jointly while married from the bank accounts to the house to the car to the furniture to the vacuum cleaner to the CD and DVD collection to the pot holders in the kitchen - ALLLLL the assets.

Even divorce attorneys for people that are flat ass broke fight like dogs to make sure they get a fair settlement. Attorneys for wealthy people fight like demons from hell. There is no way on earth that even an attorney for one or the other divorcing spouse would ever ever ever ever in a hundred million years calculate that their client got the financial asset of the house that they actually DON'T get plus the POWER that the financially retaining father would be able to wield over the ex-wife by being able to kick her out of the house any time he wanted, sell and keep all the money. It's LUDICROUS.

This is just an idiotic argument, and it still makes it appear that the father is a creep that after all that he's lost and all he has cause to feel overwhelming regret, guilt and remorse for would be instead be feeling all joyous that he gets to save some bucks.

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Response to TorchTheWitch (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:32 PM

18. whatever... you certainly seen "invested" in this..

I don't care what happens to ANY of the "property".. just feel sad about the lost lives of the kids & teachers.. nothing she had would ever be compensation for their losses....and I doubt that filing a lawsuit was even in the realm of negligible interest to any of the families..

no one intimated that he would be "all joyous".... that's on YOU..

done here ,,have a nice Christmas & try to relax a little..



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Response to TorchTheWitch (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:39 PM

15. You don't inherit from someone you kill. That's the bottom line.

It's usually called "the slayer rule" in most states.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slayer_rule





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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 04:45 PM

12. More likely to sue the town of Newtown, for failure to protect the kids

....Mothers estate by itself wouldn't go far if you divide it up 28 times(26 dead plus the 2 survivors)

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Response to KinMd (Reply #12)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:45 PM

16. That would be an epic bad move.

A group of five teenagers in Griswold, CT slipped out of school and went joyriding on the back road (winding two lane roads with lots of trees on the side), lost control, and flipped into a tree killing 4 of the teens. The town rushed to help and their was a massive community outreach for the families.

Then several months later one of the families decides to file to sue the town and other parents. They are now shunned as Persona non grata in town. Declaring war (via tax explosion) on your neighbors in small town New England won't end well.

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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:36 PM

14. Homeowner insurance may cover events. Secondly, Mom may be held

liable for having accessible weapons depending on facts - how were they secured. It's a given that Adam was mentally off in some manner and depending on his diagnosis - he may have had potential to be violent/dangerous to self/others/both. Imagine some sort of settlement will be reached with families out of money from the estate. Whether could win in court may be another matter.

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