A Florida federal judge has given final approval to a $239 million settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging safety defects involving several models of a Brazilian gun manufacturer’s pistols. Forjas Taurus SA and related entities will offer expanded warranty services or cash payments to the nearly one million class members located in the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam to resolve the allegations that the particular firearm models have a “drop-fire defect” and a “false safety defect,” which can allow the guns to fire unintentionally when dropped or when the safety is purportedly set, respectively.
Plaintiff Chris Carter, who sued in December 2013, said that his Taurus pistol went off while he was working as a deputy with the Scott County, Iowa, sheriff’s department as a narcotics agent and that his gun hit the ground during a foot pursuit. The gun’s safety was on, and no one was injured by the shot, which hit a car, Carter said. The company knew about the defects since at least 2007. Taurus has settled cases involving serious injuries from unintended discharges. 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.
Carter accused the company of suppression, failure to warn and violating the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and state consumer protection statutes. In a preliminary settlement reached in May 2015, Taurus agreed to provide expanded warranties, training and up to $30 million in cash for returned handguns to settle a class action claiming that Taurus weapons could fire when dropped, even with the safety on. About 1 million of the pistols named in the suit had been sold in the U.S.
The Plaintiffs are represented by David L. Selby II, John W. Barrett, Eric B. Snyder and Patricia M. Kipnis of Bailey & Glasser LLP, Todd Wheeles of Morris Haynes Hornsby & Wheeles, and Angelo Marino Jr. of Angelo Marino Jr. PA. The case is Carter v. Forjas Taurus SA et al. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
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