Forjas Taurus SA, a Brazilian gun manufacturer, has settled a class action lawsuit. Under the settlement the company will provide expanded warranties, training and up to $30 million in cash for returned handguns. It was alleged that the company’s weapons can fire when dropped, even with the safety on. In a joint motion for preliminary approval of the settlement, Forjas Taurus agreed to provide cash payments of up to $200 for returned pistols along with training and warranties for owners of nine handgun models, including six PT Millennium models. The $200 figure is dependent on fewer than 10,000 pistols being returned, and the settlement set a $150 minimum that would be exhausted by 200,000 claims. The gunmaker also agreed to cover up to $9 million in legal fees. About one million of the pistols named in the suit have been sold nationwide.
The additional training that Forjas Taurus agreed to provide would address the alleged safety defects and cover proper handling and operation of the affected semiautomatic pistols. The pistols are eligible for a free inspection by the company under the enhanced warranties provided by the settlement. It was alleged that the company’s guns suffered from a “drop-fire defect” that caused some models to fire due to a sudden impact, as well as a “false safety defect” that allowed the guns to fire when it appeared as though their manual safety latches were engaged. The complaint said that the Plaintiff’s Forjas Taurus pistol went off while he was working as a deputy with the Scott County, Iowa, sheriff’s department as a narcotics agent and his gun hit the ground during a foot pursuit. It was stated that the gun’s safety was on and no one was injured by the shot, which hit a car.
The company knew about the defects since at least 2007, according to the complaint, which said that Forjas Taurus settled cases involving serious injuries from unintended discharges and claimed that the Sao Paulo State Military Police in Brazil recalled 98,000 Forjas Taurus pistols in 2013 after realizing they could go off without anyone pulling the trigger. The claims against the company were suppression, failure to warn and violating the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and state consumer protection statutes.
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