Remington Arms has been the subject of scores of lawsuits because of alleged defects with the Walker Fire Control trigger mechanism, but a new case targets the company’s replacement trigger, the X-Mark Pro.
A Michigan hunter alleges that a defect in his Remington 700 XMP caused the rifle to unintentionally discharge a round and subsequently injure his leg.
Bret Bachert filed the lawsuit in a Houston federal court on Nov. 2 for more than $75,000 in damages. According to the complaint, he suffered “permanent and severe” injuries when his rifle went off on its own.
Bachert’s injury happened after he bagged an antelope during a hunting trip in Texas in November 2013, the lawsuit says. The rifle went off as he positioned the animal carcass and the rifle for a photo, but the gun discharged as he laid it across the body. He did not pull the trigger.
The gunshot disfigured his left leg and he continues to suffer from severe pain and emotional distress, the lawsuit says.
Bachert originally filed the lawsuit in April in an Illinois state court, but the case was transferred to a federal court where it was ultimately removed because it was filed in the wrong jurisdiction.
“The lawyers really filed it there for their own convenience, which they moved it,” said Robert Chaffin, the Houston attorney representing Bachert.
But that wasn’t the only thing wrong with the case: the complaint incorrectly blamed the Walker trigger design, Chaffin said. “By the time they filed the original case, I don’t think (the attorneys) knew that,” he added.
“The most reasonable place to file it was in Texas because that’s where the witnesses are and where the accident happened,” he said.
Last year, Remington settled a class action suit and agreed to replace parts for millions of rifles equipped with the Walker trigger and even models equipped with the newer XMP triggers. The latter was included because it also had a defect that allowed for unintentional discharges, which Remington recalled in April 2014. However, few lawsuits have specifically targeted the XMP trigger.
According to Remington’s quarterly filing in September, the company currently has 45 personal injury cases against it. Six of the cases propose allegations against the XMP trigger, Chaffin said.
In the cases against the Walker trigger design, many of the lawsuits use an available body of evidence to support a claim, but that evidence would not be as relevant for claims against the XMP. However, Chaffin told Guns.com that they have better evidence because people are documented malfunctions with their smartphones.
The videos “actually show the rifle malfunction in where it will fire when you push the safety off and touch the bolt,” he said.
His office shared three videos with Guns.com (view them here, here and here) that show a rifle identified as a Model 700 equipped with an XMP trigger discharge a round when the bolt is merely touched. Chaffin said one of the videos sparked an internal investigation at Remington and spurred the recall in April, which affected Model 700 and Model Seven rifles built from 2006 to the date of the recall.
Remington said the issue with XMP triggers at the time was caused by an excess bonding agent used in the assembly process. In other words, there was too much glue on the mechanism that caused it to foul up, said Chaffin, who raised concerns over the timing and wording of the recall notice.
“The recall issued for these rifles in 2014 was issued too late and the wording in the recall is confusing,” he said. “Remington attempts to say that the rifle will only malfunction under certain limited circumstances, which is not true. The rifle will malfunction in prior without the trigger being pulled under a broad range of circumstances. It’s a very dangerous defect in the XMP.”
Guns.com made repeated attempts to contact Remington, but was unable to reach a company spokesman for comment on the lawsuit in time for publication.
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