Sandy Hook Parents Say Remington Stalled Lawsuit With Emojis, Memes

Lawyers asked the gun company for corporate emails, what they got was tens of thousands of memes, go-kart videos, and gender reveal party films.
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Image: Lawsuit

According to lawyers representing the families of Sandy Hook victims, weapons manufacturer Remington sent tens of thousands of random cartoons, videos, memes, and emojis as part of the discovery process in its ongoing court case. “There are 18,459 more images such as these in Remington’s document production,” the victim’s lawyers said in a complaint filed against Remington below a picture of a dead Minion, sliced like a steak, with the caption “filet minion.”

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Some of the Sandy Hook families have been suing Remington since 2014, alleging that it inappropriately advertised its Bushmaster XM-15 to civilians. The Bushmaster XM-15 is an AR-15 style semi-automatic weapon that was used in the shooting. The lawsuit has been repeatedly delayed because Remington has filed for bankruptcy twice.

As part of the normal discovery process of a lawsuit, both sides can request information from the other. The Sandy Hook family’s lawyers asked for documents, mostly, emails from the weapons manufacturer, that could be relevant to the case. The weapons manufacturer responded with an unsorted dump of memes, cartoons, and videos. The latest filing was first reported by the Connecticut Post.

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Discovery documents filed by Remington. CT Supreme Court document

“There are 18,459 more images such as these in Remington’s document production,” the complaint said, referring specifically to the emojis and cartoons. “But these cartoons are not all.  There are also another 15,825 image files of people go-karting, riding dirt bikes, and socializing, another 1,521 video files of gender reveal parties and the ice bucket challenge, not to mention multiple duplicate copies of Remington catalogues.”

According to the lawyers who filed the complaint, the 46,000 documents contained no metadata or easy method of sorting or attribution. There were several thousands emails buried among the gender reveal videos and Minion memes, but far fewer than the lawyers expected. 

“Remington has taken the better part of seven years to produce 46,061 documents and in that set there are only 2,350 email communications, a number that reduces to 2,194 when duplicate emails are accounted for,” the lawyers said. “That’s roughly 315 emails per year for all of Remington when research shows that the average corporate user sent and received 40,000 emails per year during this same time period.”

The lawyers also said Remington has been stalling the discovery process for years, claiming it’s impossible to explain how it keeps records and that it’s too expensive and burdensome to go back through its archives. It’s an argument that Remington attempted to use in court, but judges rejected it.

The lawyers representing Remington and the Sandy Hook Families did not immediately respond to Motherboard’s request for comment.