Lawsuits against Taurus surface following settlement

Three months after Taurus International settled a $30 million product liability class action suit in federal court, new allegations involving the company’s alleged defective trigger design have surfaced.

Taurus has been named in two civil suits filed in a Florida court on Oct. 30 by plaintiffs from other states. They’re taking aim at a defect that has also been linked to accidental injuries and deaths in company’s home country of Brazil, according to court documents.

The first lawsuit says a Taurus PT 609 9mm handgun discharged as the owner, Donald Simms, of Cherokee County, Alabama, tried to seat a magazine and the round pierced his hand, his wife’s arm and their 11-year-old son’s neck, which killed him.

According to the complaint, the incident occurred Feb. 15 when Simms inserted a magazine into the pistol after attaching a rubber sleeve over the grip, but the magazine did not seat properly so he then bumped the bottom of the mag with his palm. However, instead of seating the magazine, it made the slide slam shut. The gun discharged when he bumped it a second time.

Simms bought the gun brand new and owned it less than a year before the accident, the lawsuit says. He did not touch the trigger at the time of the incident.

Weeks after burying his son, on March 10, he learned that there had been a pending class action lawsuit against Taurus over the alleged trigger design.

The second lawsuit says a Taurus 24/7 PRO DS 9mm handgun discharged during an incident on Feb. 18, 2014, when it fell out of a holster and hit the ground. The round struck owner, Jason Friend, a policeman in Berea, Kentucky, in the leg and he suffered extensive tissue, bone, nerve and muscle damage.

According to the complaint, Friend owned the pistol for roughly five-and-a-half years and had never had an issue until the night it accidentally discharged. He cleaned it once a month and had never modified it, the lawsuit says.

Both lawsuits are for an unspecified sum plus attorney and court costs. Also, both plaintiffs are being represented by Florida law firm Morris, Haynes, Wheeles, Knowles & Nelson, which is collaborating with the firm that litigated the class action suit.

In July, a judge approved a class action settlement that could cost Taurus up to $30 million. According to court documents, nine Taurus pistol designs have an alleged defect that allows the gun to fire while the safety is engaged.

The class action suit was filed in July 2013 and the initial claim involves a sheriff’s deputy in Iowa who dropped his gun while pursuing a suspect on foot. The gun discharged but no one was hurt.

A few months later, in September 2013, the Sao Paulo Military Police in Brazil recalled all 98,000 Taurus 24/7 pistols issued to their personnel after discovering the pistols could be discharged without the trigger being pulled.

Taurus is a Brazilian company and has its U.S. operations in the Miami area. Estimates put its U.S. operations’ annual revenue at $260 million.

Currently, anyone who owns one of the nine Taurus pistols with the alleged defect can return the gun for cash, or get it repaired. For more information, check out the settlement website.

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