HELENA – The Remington Arms Co. has faced numerous lawsuits over alleged defects in its Model 700 bolt-action rifle – including at least three class-action lawsuits filed in federal courts in Montana, Washington and Missouri.
The class-action suits, all filed earlier this year on behalf of rifle owners, allege that “every Model 700 should be considered unreasonably dangerous and defective because it is prone to fire without pulling the trigger due to the defective design of the trigger assembly.”
The suits also accuse Remington of knowingly concealing the “defective nature” of the rifle, ask for damages, and ask that the company be ordered to notify all Model 700 owners of the problem.
However, none of the lawsuits has had the plaintiffs “certified” as a class – a key step in any successful class-action suit.
The Montana lawsuit was dismissed three weeks ago at the request of Remington and the plaintiffs. Lawyers in the case declined to discuss why they asked for dismissal.
Also this month, an Oregon woman severely injured by a Remington Model 700 rifle more than 30 years ago asked a federal judge in Oregon to re-open her case for a new trial.
Teri See alleged that before the 1983 trial on her original lawsuit against the company, Remington fraudulently concealed evidence about its knowledge of defects in the rifle. A jury ruled in favor of Remington at that trial.
Over the years, Remington has won, lost and settled scores of lawsuits filed by people injured by the Model 700 rifle. Most of the suits alleged the rifle has a defect that can cause it to fire without the trigger being pulled.
One of the biggest verdicts against Remington was in 1994. Texas oil worker Glenn Collins, whose foot was amputated after an accident with the Model 700, won a $17 million verdict against the company. The case later was settled out of court, after Remington agreed not to appeal the verdict.
Collins said the rifle fired accidentally in 1989 as he was unloading it, striking his foot.