Remington reaches settlement in wrongful death lawsuit over Model 700 rifle with ‘Walker Fire Control’ misfire

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by Jay Pate

The widow of a Michigan man has settled her wrongful death lawsuit against the gun manufacturer Remington. Monica Wood, of Battle Creek, Michigan, sued Remington Arms Company, LLC., claiming that a faulty trigger assembly on a 2005 Remington Model 700-270 bolt-action rifle led to the death of her husband, Robert Wood Jr., during a hunting trip in Wyoming in 2011.

The gun was owned by Robert’s father who, according the lawsuit, was loading his rifle as the gun was laying in a case on the tailgate of a pickup truck. He chambered a round in the gun and closed the bolt “with his fingers nowhere near the trigger or trigger guard of the rifle,” according to the complaint. As he was closing the gun’s bolt, the rifle fired “suddenly and unexpectedly,” and a round from the rifle struck Robert, who happened to be coming around the rear of the pickup truck. Robert bled to death.

Monica alleged that a defective trigger-assembly design on the Remington rifle caused the weapon to inadvertently fire without the gun’s trigger being pulled. Monica claimed that Remington had been aware since the 1970s of the danger of inadvertent firing on its bolt-action rifles “as a result of the ‘Walker Fire Control’ trigger assembly. The lawsuit alleged Remington was grossly negligent and that at the time that the 2005 rifle was manufactured Remington “had actual knowledge of over one hundred other incidents of inadvertent firing without the trigger being pulled involving Model 700 rifles manufactured with the Remington-Walker trigger assembly.” The amount of the settlement is confidential.

Remington also faces class action litigation regarding the Walker Fire Control mechanism. This summer, in Pollard v. Remingon Arms Company, LLC, a Missouri federal court refused to dismiss all of the claims asserted in that putative class action. In that case, the plaintiff alleges that the Walker Fire Control mechanism in Remington Model 700 rifles (“Model 700 rifles”) allows debris and other foreign materials to slip between the trigger and the trigger connector making the rifles susceptible to accidental discharge without a trigger pull.

The complaint alleges that the design defect in the Walker Fire Control trigger is common to all rifle models that employ the fire control, and that the defendants received thousands of complaints that the Remington Model 700 rifle containing the Walker Fire Control fired without a trigger pull. Among other relief, class action plaintiffs are seeking a court declaration that all Remington Model 700 rifles using the Walker fire control are defective, that Remington knew of the defect, and that there should be a recall of the Model 700 rifles.

Defective products: protect your rights

To successfully bring about a claim involving a defective product, clients need an experienced, educated attorney on their side. They also need an attorney with the financial resources to take the case to trial. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we have tried hundreds of cases to verdict and have settled hundreds more. In 2010 alone, we negotiated settlements of personal injury and wrongful death claims totaling more than $50 million.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson also has the financial resources to handle personal injury cases from start to finish. In fact, there are many instances in which we invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a case in order to take it to trial. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we are committed to achieving justice for our clients, whatever the cost.

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Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2013.