National Law Firm Files Class Action Over Remington Rifle

The national law firm, Parker Waichman LLP, just filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Remington Model 700 Rifles can fire with no trigger pull due to its defective trigger mechanism known as the Walker Fire Control. The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Florida consumers who own the Model 700 Rifle manufactured by Remington Arms.

The lawsuit was filed on December 31st, 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division. Remington Arms Company, LLC., Sporting Goods Properties, Inc., and E.I. Du Pont Nemours and Company have been named as defendants.

The lawsuit alleges that the Model 700 rifle is dangerous because of its Walker Fire Control trigger design. Unlike other firearm manufacturers, Remington’s patented Walker Fire Control utilizes an internal component—the so-called trigger “connector”—that supports the sear, another internal component. When the trigger is pulled, the trigger body pushes the connector forward; this allows the sear to fall and the rifle to fire. When the trigger is pulled and the rifle fires, the trigger body and the trigger connector create a gap.

According to the complaint, an array of field debris, manufacturing scrap, burrs from the manufacturing process, lubrication, and moisture can build up in the gap created during a trigger pull. The buildup can also allegedly restrict the return of the trigger connector to its proper location under the sear; this predisposes the rifle to malfunction in the absence of a trigger pull.

The Walker Fire Control was introduced in 1948 and is found in over 5 million Remington brand firearms. According to the complaint, the defendants have known about the Walker Fire Control’s design flaws even before the product was put into commerce and have also known since 1979 that at least 1 percent of all Model 700 Rifles would “trick,” allowing them to fire unexpectedly without a trigger pull. The lawsuit also alleges that this percentage is vastly understated because the “trick condition” has to do with the design defects inherent in the Walker Fire Control, and therefore all Model 700 rifles and all other firearm that utilize this design have a risk of firing without a trigger pull.

According to the lawsuit, the unexpected firing without a trigger pull is so common that the defendants have developed abbreviations to refer to the conditions under which the misfiring occurred. The “fire on safe release” or “FSR,” is just one common form of malfunction allegedly associated with the Walker Fire Control.

The lawsuit noted that the Remington Rifle Model 600, which also used the Walker Fire Control, was recalled after a large settlement was awarded to an accident victim in 1978. Remington recalled the Model 600 series once the media widely publicized the alleged malfunctions associated with the Walker Fire Control and the settlement amount. According to the complaint, the recalled Model 600 series exhibited the same exact forms of safety-related malfunctions as the Model 700. In fact, in 1975, Remington audited 615 Model 600 rifles and found that 55.9 percent of them failed. The lawsuit states that the defendants failed to warn, retrofit, or recall the affected rifles until after the widely-publicized 1978 settlement and also alleges that, despite that the Model 700 rifles employ the same fire control system as the Model 600 series, the defendants have never recalled all Model 700 rifles.

The complaint also states that there is no engineering reason to employ a separate connector not physically attached to the trigger, no other firearm manufacturer utilizes such a device, and many after-market manufacturers have created replacement triggers to replace the allegedly defective Walker Fire Control. In fact, the complaint states that January 2011, Mr. Walker himself confirmed that the extra connector serves no engineering purpose other than to reduce manufacturing costs and make operation of the trigger pull smoother.

Parker Waichman LLP filed the lawsuit alongside several other distinguished law firms. Co-counsel include 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.

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