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Guns are dangerous as it is. The last thing gun owners need are rifles that are "susceptible to unintentional firing without a trigger pull." Remington had allegedly produced some 7.5 million rifles with a design defect that, while intended as a safety improvement, could lead to the guns firing without the trigger being pulled.
The gun manufacturer recently settled a class action lawsuit claiming the company knew about and failed to adequately address the problem, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that settlement last week.
Purchasers of Remington rifles with the Walker Fire Control (a two-piece trigger design for bolt-action rifles first introduced in 1948) sued the company, claiming Remington knew of the dangerous condition, failed to issue an adequate warning or recall, and made false representations to the public that the firearms were trustworthy, safe, and reliable. After a year of negotiations, the two sides agreed that American owners of the affected firearms would receive retrofitted triggers, $10 or $12 vouchers, and/or reimbursement for replacing the gun's original trigger mechanism. In exchange, gun owners would release Remington from any future legal claims.
The only problem, as a lower court noted, was the response rate from those gun owners. Assuming all 7.5 million firearms remained in circulation, there was only a 0.1 percent claim submission rate in response to the initial settlement. While that rate has since climbed to 0.29 percent (about 22,000 claims), it remains incredibly low given the number of rifles that could still be out there.
Still, the Eighth Circuit ruled that the proposed settlement was "fair, reasonable and adequate, and in the best interests of the parties and the settlement class members when balanced against the risks and benefits of further litigation." In the end, the court approved payments in the amount of $2,500 to each class representative and approved $12.5 million in attorney's fees.
If you own a Remington rifle, you may want to check with the court ruling or the company to make sure it's not one with a trigger defect.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.