From the Advertising, Marketing and Promotions Law perspective, the recent decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court raises interesting legal questions regarding marketing strategy. The Court allowed plaintiffs “to subpoena internal documents on how the gun companies have marketed the AR-15, which has become the weapon of choice for mass shooters. The gun manufacturers have closely guarded information on how they market the assault weapons.”

Justice Palmer stated in the Court’s majority decision that “We further conclude that PLCAA does not bar the plaintiffs from proceeding on the single, limited theory that the defendants violated CUTPA by marketing the XM15- E2S to civilians for criminal purposes, and that those wrongful marketing tactics caused or contributed to the Sandy Hook massacre.”

This case gives marketers food for thought.  What is the intended purpose of your product?  Does your marketing strategy encourage criminal acts with your product?  Does that open the marketer to legal and/or criminal liability?  All questions that need answers.

As the Connecticut case advances, we will learn more about the potential consequences IF it is found that marketing campaigns encouraged criminal acts, which could eventually be applied to other products as well.  Stay tuned…

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