Firearms manufacturer Taurus has settled a lawsuit that alleges nine handgun models had defects, including one that caused some to inadvertently fire when dropped. This defective product lawsuit was filed in a Florida 2013 in federal court. The settlement affects customers who bought the following models sold between 1997 and 2013 in the U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam: PT-111 Millennium; PT-132 Millennium; PT-138-Millennium; PT-140 Millennium; PT-145 Millennium; PT-745 Millennium; PT-609; PT-640; and PT-24/7. Claims will be handled by a Third Party Claims Administrator (TPA). Once the Claims Period opens, the Taurus Companies will provide notice through digital and print outlets. All claims should be made through the TPA.
As of early 2013 the nine models were no longer manufactured and distributed in the United States. The company is headquartered in Brazil, but it has operations in Miami. A federal judge in Miami preliminarily approved the settlement that calls basically for Taurus to do three things for customers:
• Provide an enhanced warranty to allow any owner – even if it isn’t the original owner and for the life of the pistol – to submit the handgun for inspection and repair, if possible. If the defects can’t be repaired Taurus will offer to replace the pistol with a similar new one. Normal inspection and shipping fees and labor costs will be waived.
• Produce on-line safety training videos for those customers who bought the pistols to show them how to handle and carry the pistols to avoid dropping them and how to ship them for warranty repairs.a
• Allow customers who bought the pistols to send their pistols back for cash payments. The payments will vary up to $200, depending on how many pistols are returned.
The lawsuit alleges that there were safety defects in the nine models that caused them to fire when the trigger is pulled even though the safety in the “on” or “safe” position and others when dropped or bumped, a notice that will be published and sent to customers’ states. It was alleged that defects are attributable to the lack of a “trigger safety blade” within the semi-automatic pistols. Under the settlement, total cash payments are capped at $30 million.
The federal judge will hold a hearing in January to determine whether to give final approval to the settlement. In the meantime the judge has set out deadlines for the company to publish notices and the safety videos. It’s estimated that with the cash payment cap, repair and replacement of guns, and attorneys’ fees, the cost to Taurus will eventually total more than $50 million. The company has denied there were any defects in those handgun models.
The lead Plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit is Chris Carter, a sheriff’s deputy in Scott County Iowa who had a PT140 Millennium PRO pistol. He alleged that on July 29, 2013, while serving on a narcotics detail he pursued a fleeing suspect. As he ran, his pistol fell from his holster, hitting the ground and discharging a bullet that struck a nearby unoccupied vehicle. Todd Wheeles with the Birmingham law firm Morris, Haynes, Hornsby & Wheeles and David Selby, who is with Bailey & Glasser, are co-lead counsel in the class-action lawsuit. The firms worked on this case with the law firm Leesfield & Partners, P.A., and Angelo Marino, Jr., both located in Miami where the lawsuit was filed.
Sources: WSFA News and The Birmingham News
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