The patented design of the Remington Arms Model 700 Rifle has been associated with serious safety risks. An allegedly defective trigger mechanism, the so-called “Walker Fire Control,” is found in over five million Remington brand firearms.
Introduced in 1948, the Walker Fire Control is now at the center of a number of lawsuits and has been linked to injuries and fatalities. The most recent class action lawsuit, filed by national law firm, Parker Waichman LLP, has been brought on behalf of Washington and North Carolina consumers who own the Model 700 Rifle.
The Walker Fire Control incorporates a separate trigger connector, which is not physically attached to the trigger in any fashion but, rather, is held in place by tension from a spring and side plates; this creates a fully enclosed housing. which can allegedly cause debris—including field debris, manufacturing scrap, burrs from the manufacturing process, lubrication, and moisture—to build up inside the gun. This buildup can restrict the return of the trigger to its original location under the sear, predisposing the rifle to malfunction in the absence of a trigger pull, the lawsuit alleges. When the trigger is pulled, the trigger body pushes the connector forward, causing the sear to fall and the rifle to fire. When this occurs, a gap is created between the trigger body and the trigger connector.
No other firearms manufacturer utilizes this internal component and there is no engineering reason to use a separate trigger connector that is not physically attached to the trigger itself, the lawsuit alleges, pointing out that a number of after-market manufacturers have created replacement triggers to replace the allegedly defective Walker Fire Control. According to the complaint, Mr. Walker, designer of the Walker trigger mechanism, himself, confirmed in January 2011 that the extra connector serves no engineering purpose other than to reduce manufacturing costs and make operation of the trigger pull smoother.
Allegedly, the defendants have been aware of the defective nature of the Walker Fire Control before it was even placed into commerce. In fact, the lawsuit alleges, firing in the absence of a trigger pull is such a common event that Remington has even developed abbreviations to refer to the conditions under which the unintended firing occurred. The “fire on safe release” or “FSR,” is only but one common form of malfunction allegedly associated with the Walker Fire Control.
The defendants have acknowledged receiving 3,273 customer complaints received from 1992 and 2004 concerning Remington Model 700 rifles firing without a trigger pull, the lawsuit alleges. The number of complaints amounts to an average of approximately five unintended firings per week in that twelve-year period. The lawsuit alleges that the actual number of unintended firings for this time period is much higher given that it is unlikely that every consumer who experienced a misfire would report the problem to Remington if they were fortunate enough to avoid injury or property damage.
The lawsuit was filed on January 29, 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle (Case 2:13-cv-00172). Remington Arms Company, LLC., Sporting Goods Properties, Inc. and E.I. Du Pont Nemours and Company have been named as Defendants. Parker Waichman LLP filed the lawsuit alongside several other distinguished law firms. Co-counsel include Keller Rohrback L.L.P.; Bolen Robinson & Ellis, LLP; Climaco, Wilcox, Peca, Tarantino & Garofoli Co., LPA; Neblett, Beard & Arsenault; Holland, Groves, Schneller & Stolze LLC.; Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman; Ramler Law Office, P.C. and Monsees, Miller, Mayer, Presley & Amick, P.C.