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Sandy Hook Families Secure Major Victory Against Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones
- Client News
- October 19, 2023
Paul, Weiss won a major victory on behalf of families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in the bankruptcy proceeding of right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that Jones cannot use his bankruptcy to discharge $1.1 billion in previously awarded damages he owes to the Sandy Hook families for defamation and emotional distress.
In 2022, a Connecticut trial court and jury awarded the Sandy Hook families more than $1.4 billion in compensatory and punitive damages against Jones for his false claims that the Sandy Hook shooting was a “hoax” and that the victims’ families and first responders to the shooting were “actors.” Following the damages verdict against him, Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, filed a bankruptcy petition.
In March 2023, Paul, Weiss, on behalf of the Sandy Hook families, filed a lawsuit against Jones and his company seeking a declaratory judgment that the damage awards were non-dischargeable under the Bankruptcy Code because the debts arose from Jones’s “willful and malicious” conduct. The families then moved for summary judgment arguing, among other things, that the Connecticut state court decision prevented Jones from contesting that his actions were willful and malicious.
In ruling for the Sandy Hook families, the bankruptcy court agreed that the Connecticut state court made specific findings that Jones’s conduct was willful and malicious, and not merely reckless, and that such issues had been “fully and fairly litigated” in state court. As a result, Jones cannot discharge the more than $1 billion in damages owed to the Sandy Hook families and remains liable, notwithstanding the outcome of his bankruptcy case.
The Paul, Weiss team included restructuring partners Kyle Kimpler, who argued the motion, and Christopher Hopkins; litigation associates Daniel Negless, Briana Sheridan, Jane Zhou, Jack Day; and restructuring associate Vida Robinson.