Remington Arms Company, Inc. has had knowledge of unintended discharge for the Model 700 and 710 rifles over the past 30 years. There have been numerous lawsuits against it over a defective design of the trigger mechanism in both the Model 700 and 710 rifles. Interestingly, searching the internet for information on the defect is difficult. I had to go to the third page in a search of “Remington trigger” before I discovered information. From that search I learned of the case involving the death of 9 year of Gus Barber in Montana when his mother pulled the safety off a Remington 700 without touching the trigger and the gun fired striking and killing her son. In addition to the lawsuits, I have learned there are thousands of consumer complaints about the firing mechanism. Despite these complaints, Remington refused to recall its rifles, install a new trigger mechanism or even warn its customers of the potential danger. This refusal was done in the face of its own Safety Subcommittee’s determination that about 20,000 rifles are susceptible to improper firing. Finally, in 2007, Remington replaced the fire control. However, there are still millions of these rifles in the hands of sportsmen and law enforcement agencies with the defective trigger mechanism.
A history of Remington’s knowledge is summarized as follows: In 1995, Remington acknowledged the need to “fix” the fire control and “eliminate” ‘Fire on Safety Release’ malfunction.” In 1997, when Remington started the design of the Model 710, documents reflect Remington’s desire not to include the same trigger mechanism as found in the Model 700. New designs were considered but implementing any new design was held in abeyance in May, 1998 until an economic analysis was approved. That never happened. During all this Remington did not provide warnings to customers.
There have been a number of verdicts against Remington upheld by appellate courts. The largest verdict I could find was in Texas where a jury rendered a verdict in Collins v. Remington after Glenn Collins lost his foot to a Model 700 accidental discharge. The jury found that the fire control was defective and awarded a $15 million in exemplary damages. The total verdict was in excess of $17 million. I have not found any appellate cases in Alabama or Mississippi. Also, a search of the electronic database of cases in Alabama did not reveal any cases involving these rifles.
These rifles are still out there. If you own one, be aware of this potential danger.
Civil litigation attorney Billy Cunningham practice concentrates on personal injury, wrongful death, nursing home abuse, business litigation, environmental law and insurance matters. He is licensed to practice in the state and federal courts of Alabama and Mississippi, as well as in the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States.