A.G. Urges Reversal of Remington’s Class Action Rifle Settlement
July 10, 2017
As published by The Hudson Valley News, on July 7, 2017.
Looking to hold Remington responsible for the harm caused by the defective triggers on many of its rifles, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced that he is urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to overturn a class action settlement arranged by the gun manufacturer. Attorney General Schneiderman is part of a coalition of 14 Attorneys General urging the reversal.
As reported by 60 Minutes and CNBC, more than 7.5 million Remington rifles are prone to accidentally fire without a trigger pull, a defect that already has resulted in numerous deaths and other serious bodily injuries. Despite these ongoing risks, under the settlement, fewer than 25,000 (0.3%) of the defective guns are expected to be repaired.
“The issue at hand here isn’t a simple product defect – it’s a fundamental flaw that has already claimed lives, and continues to put families at risk,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “There are as many as 7.5 million potentially defective rifles; yet under this settlement, just 0.3% of them will be fixed. We urge the court to reverse this settlement, and protect the lives of families in New York and around the country.”
In an amicus brief, the attorneys general criticize the settlement with Remington because it unfairly terminates valuable legal claims for the rifle owners while leaving consumers and the public at ongoing risk of death or injury. Attorneys General have a responsibility to protect consumer class members under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), which specifically establishes a role for Attorneys General in the approval process for class action settlements.
Although Remington acknowledges that there is a simple replacement for the defective triggers, as many as 7.5 million guns will remain unrepaired because many owners were not given legally required notice of the settlement. Even when notice was received, owners were not properly warned of the serious and ongoing risk that their guns can unexpectedly fire without a trigger pull.
Documents show that Remington has been aware of the defect for decades and has declined to fix it, for reasons that include potential exposure to personal injury liability and the cost of alternative trigger designs. In the intervening time period, there have been hundreds of reports of personal injuries, including deaths, as well as of significant property damage.
The brief was led by Massachusetts and joined by attorneys general from New York, California, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. In total, the Attorneys General represent states where more than two million potential defective rifles are present.
According to Public Justice’s website:
- The Remington Model 700 and a dozen other Remington rifles can fire – and maim and kill people – when no one pulls the trigger.
- These rifles have killed or injured hundreds of people without any trigger pull.
- Remington knew its trigger was defective for decades, but kept the documents proving that sealed.
- Public Justice helped get the documents unsealed and is making them public here.
- In a proposed national class action settlement, Remington has now agreed to replace the triggers for free in these rifles – Remington Model 700, Seven, Sportsman 78, 673, 710, 715, and 770 – for any gun owner who files a claim.
- All owners of these rifles should stop using them and file a claim to protect themselves, their family, friends and loved ones.
- All owners of three other Remington rifles with these triggers – Models 600, 660, and XP-100 – should stop using them, get them repaired for free through Remington’s 1979 recalls of Models 600 and 660 and Model XP-100 rifles, and consider filing a claim for the compensation the proposed settlement provides.
- All owners of three other Remington rifles with these triggers – Models 721, 722, and 725 – should stop using them, unless you get the defective trigger fixed, and consider filing a claim for the compensation the proposed settlement provides.