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Remington Rifle Settlement, Including Free Trigger Replacement, Is Official




Via: CNBC




  • Own­ers of some 7.5 mil­lion Rem­ing­ton firearms, includ­ing the Mod­el 700 rifle, now have 18 months to file a claim.
  • A class action suit alleged the guns can fire with­out the trig­ger being pulled, though the com­pa­ny still main­tains they are safe.
  • CNBC inves­ti­gat­ed alle­ga­tions, denied by Rem­ing­ton, that the com­pa­ny cov­ered up the alleged defect for decades.
The Remington 700 trigger mechanism
Bran­don Ancil | CNBC
The Rem­ing­ton 700 trig­ger mech­a­nism

A land­mark class action set­tle­ment involv­ing some of Remington’s most pop­u­lar firearms has offi­cial­ly gone into effect, after crit­ics of the agree­ment declined to take their case to the Supreme Court by a Tues­day dead­line, accord­ing to an attor­ney for the plain­tiffs.

That means that mil­lions of own­ers of the icon­ic Mod­el 700 rifle — and a dozen Rem­ing­ton mod­els with sim­i­lar designs — have 18 months to file claims for a free replace­ment of their guns’ alleged­ly defec­tive trig­gers. The guns have been linked in law­suits to dozens of acci­den­tal deaths and hun­dreds of seri­ous injuries, though Rem­ing­ton still main­tains they are safe.

Any­one with one of these guns should take advan­tage of this oppor­tu­ni­ty to get the trig­ger fixed,” said Eric D. Hol­land, a lead attor­ney for the plain­tiffs in the class action case. “I’ve encour­aged every­one to put these guns away. Don’t use these guns. Make the claims now.”

spe­cial web­site has been set up with infor­ma­tion on how to file a claim, and there is also a toll-free hot­line, 1–800-876‑5940.

Attor­neys for Rem­ing­ton did not respond to an email seek­ing a com­ment.

In the past, the com­pa­ny has said it was set­tling the class action case in order to avoid pro­tract­ed lit­i­ga­tion. Ear­li­er this year, Rem­ing­ton — the nation’s old­est gun man­u­fac­tur­er — filed for Chap­ter 11 bank­rupt­cy pro­tec­tion, cit­ing declin­ing sales. The com­pa­ny has since reor­ga­nized and emerged from bank­rupt­cy with the set­tle­ment still intact.

The effec­tive date of the set­tle­ment comes almost exact­ly eight years after CNBC first explored alle­ga­tions that Rem­ing­ton engaged in a decades-long coverup of a defect that allows the guns to fire with­out the trig­ger being pulled.

Rem­ing­ton said the guns have been safe since they were first pro­duced. But the 2010 doc­u­men­tary “Rem­ing­ton Under Fire: A CNBC Inves­ti­ga­tion” uncov­ered inter­nal com­pa­ny doc­u­ments show­ing engi­neers warn­ing of a “the­o­ret­i­cal unsafe con­di­tion” even before the trig­ger design went on the mar­ket in 1948. The com­pa­ny repeat­ed­ly decid­ed against mod­i­fy­ing the design or launch­ing a recall, even as acci­dents and cus­tomer com­plaints con­tin­ued to pile up.

The mile­stone also comes 18 years after the death of 9-year-old Gus Bar­ber, killed in a hunt­ing acci­dent in Mon­tana on Oct. 23, 2000. The boy’s moth­er said her Mod­el 700 rifle went off as she was unload­ing it, with her fin­ger away from the trig­ger. Unbe­knownst to the fam­i­ly, Gus had run behind a horse trail­er, direct­ly into the path of the bul­let. The fam­i­ly even­tu­al­ly set­tled a wrong­ful death claim against Rem­ing­ton for an undis­closed amount.

Soon after Gus’ death, his father, Richard Bar­ber, made it his life’s work to find answers about Rem­ing­ton and its prod­ucts, gath­er­ing thou­sands of inter­nal com­pa­ny doc­u­ments, many of which have been pub­lished online. Bar­ber served as a con­sul­tant to the plain­tiffs in the class action case, but he resigned after con­clud­ing that the attor­neys were not press­ing the com­pa­ny hard enough.

I’d like to believe that I have a part in get­ting to this time and place in his­to­ry,” Bar­ber said in an inter­view. “I would like to believe that 15 years of my painstak­ing work in my detailed analy­sis of Remington’s doc­u­ments, putting the pieces of the puz­zle togeth­er, made a dif­fer­ence in my son’s mem­o­ry.”

Bar­ber has been crit­i­cal of the set­tle­ment, which he says is “built on a lie” — name­ly, Remington’s con­tin­ued claim that the guns are safe. But he is still urg­ing gun own­ers to take advan­tage of the trig­ger replace­ment offer, even if it means send­ing their guns in for repairs just as peak fall hunt­ing sea­son begins.

Why would some­body take a chance endan­ger­ing the lives of their fam­i­ly mem­bers and friends, just because it may incon­ve­nience them, that they may have to use a dif­fer­ent rifle,” he said.

Staking a claim

The set­tle­ment cov­ers an esti­mat­ed 7.5 mil­lion guns dat­ing back to 1948. In addi­tion to the Mod­el 700 rifle, the agree­ment cov­ers Rem­ing­ton bolt-action rifle mod­els Sev­en, Sports­man 78, 673, 710, 715, 770, 600, 660, 721, 722, 725, and the XP-100 bolt action pis­tol. Plain­tiffs’ attor­neys note that the set­tle­ment only cov­ers eco­nom­ic loss­es from own­er­ship of the alleged­ly defec­tive guns. Oth­er claims alleg­ing per­son­al injury or wrong­ful death can still go for­ward.

In most cas­es under the class action set­tle­ment, own­ers will be able to send or bring their guns to Rem­ing­ton or an autho­rized ser­vice cen­ter, where they will be retro­fit­ted with a new trig­ger free of charge. There is no word on how long the repairs will take. How­ev­er, Rem­ing­ton says some old­er mod­els, specif­i­cal­ly the 600, 660, 721, 722, 725, and XP-100, are too old to retro­fit. In those cas­es, Rem­ing­ton will sup­ply a prod­uct vouch­er worth as lit­tle as $10.

That aspect of the set­tle­ment was par­tic­u­lar­ly irk­some to some crit­ics, who dis­put­ed Remington’s claim that the guns were too old to repair. In the case of the 600 and 660, which date back to the 1960s, Rem­ing­ton launched a vol­un­tary recall — which remains in effect — in 1979. Even though the mod­els do not qual­i­fy for a new trig­ger under the class action set­tle­ment, they are still eli­gi­ble under the 1979 vol­un­tary recall, which remains on Remington’s web­site.

I still feel that they’re oblig­at­ed to fix them,” Bar­ber said.

Bar­ber and oth­er crit­ics alleged that Rem­ing­ton delib­er­ate­ly down­played the set­tle­ment in order to reduce the num­ber of claims and save mon­ey. And they alleged that plain­tiffs’ attor­neys were more inter­est­ed in the $12.5 mil­lion in fees they stand to col­lect under the set­tle­ment than they are in noti­fy­ing gun own­ers of the trig­ger replace­ment offer, which the attor­neys denied.

In court, the crit­ics attacked the settlement’s frame­work for noti­fy­ing the pub­lic, which includ­ed a nation­al radio cam­paign, as well as inter­net and direct mail adver­tise­ments. But a fed­er­al appeals pan­el reject­ed the argu­ments that the notice plan was inad­e­quate. To date, Hol­land said, some 30,000 cus­tomers have filed claims, and he expects that num­ber to rise now that the set­tle­ment has tak­en effect.

We are con­vinced, as have all lev­els of the courts that have looked at this been con­vinced, that peo­ple have got­ten the word,” he said. “We’ve engaged in what I would call real­ly state-of-the-art notice.”

Public must act

Under the set­tle­ment, Rem­ing­ton is not required to do any­thing beyond the cam­paigns that were already car­ried out in 2015 and 2016 to noti­fy the pub­lic about the trig­ger replace­ment offer, though a link to the set­tle­ment site remains on the company’s web­site. Rem­ing­ton is also enti­tled to con­tin­ue claim­ing that the guns are safe, which is infu­ri­at­ing to peo­ple like Richard Bar­ber.

They’re in essence cre­at­ing a fraud and vio­lat­ing the terms of this agree­ment which no one seems to want to step up and enforce,” Bar­ber said.

But Hol­land said Remington’s con­tin­ued stead­fast insis­tence that the guns are safe is an indi­ca­tion of how dif­fi­cult it would have been to win the class action case had it gone to tri­al. He said it was bet­ter to set­tle the case than to fight years for an admis­sion or judg­ment that might nev­er have occurred.

Both sides had things to talk about just like in any set­tle­ment, but here I believe Rem­ing­ton did the right thing,” he said. “They stepped up and they offered a trig­ger to any­one who has one of the many, many thou­sands, hun­dreds of thou­sands, pos­si­bly mil­lions of guns that are still out there. And I encour­age peo­ple to get those guns fixed.”

Bar­ber agrees it is now up to the pub­lic to act.

I’m done oppos­ing the set­tle­ment. I’ve done my best, and I can’t do any­more,” he said. “The focus needs to be on edu­ca­tion, and peo­ple get­ting their guns fixed free of charge.”

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ER1C ☠

ER1C ☠

Dedicated Second Amendment Advocate, At-Home Gunsmith, Designer, Blogger, Video Guy, Author, Business Owner & ReloadOne Member.

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