Remington Arms Company was slammed with a lawsuit last week over a Model 700 rifle that inexplicably fired, striking its owners in the leg.
The lawsuit, filed in a New York federal court last month, alleges that Remington knowingly failed to communicate to consumers the dangers of its Walker Fire Control, a trigger design that has been the subject of countless lawsuits and settlements.
The case centers on Heribierto Masionave, a hunter out of New York, who was on a hunting trip in the wee hours in mid-November 2013 when he slung his Model 700 over his shoulder. The gun fired, with nothing engaging the trigger, and a round struck Masionave in the right lower leg.
He limped carefully back to his truck, parked nearby, and drove to the base camp he and two other hunters had established. His buddies found him and immediately took him to O’Conner Hospital in Delhi, New York.
Three years later, Masionave claims the incident has had a significant impact on his quality of life and his earnings. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $1 million.
Remington recalled Model 700 rifles, in addition to several others, featuring the Walker Fire Control. Rifles equipped with that series of triggers were found to randomly discharge after jarring or bumping or after movement of the bolt.
Though Remington issued a recall, Masionave’s lawsuit alleges that the company did little to notify customers of the defect.
“Neither Plaintiff nor the general public recognized the risks associated with the Remington Model 700 because Remington failed to warn of the defects in the rifle,” the lawsuit says. “Defendant Remington owed a duty to Plaintiff to adequately warn of the defect of the Remington Model 700 rifle prior to the sale of the product to Plaintiff, and thereafter.”
Masionave isn’t the first to call attention to Remington’s lack of transparency with consumers. CNBC, in a 2010 report, alleged Remington knew the Walker trigger was unsafe for years but actively sought to keep that information secret, going so far as to blame customers.
“Remington has always maintained that every accident was the result of user errors such as poor maintenance or improper gun handling, and claimed no expert from inside or outside of the company has ever been able to duplicate the problem on an unaltered gun,” CNBC commented.
After multiple lawsuits began rolling in, Remington was eventually forced to face the music. Though the company continues to deny any wrong-doing in regards to the Walker trigger, the North Carolina based firearms maker does allow owners of Walker trigger equipped rifles to turn over their long guns to be retrofitted with a new trigger series.
Consumers who own a Model 700 and think their rifle may fall into the recall may contact Remington to determine eligibility.