October 19, 2009

Man Awarded $1.5 million in Taurus Lawsuit

GADSEN, Ala. -- A 28-year-old Boaz man won a $1.25 million judgment in an unintended gun-discharge lawsuit against Taurus International Manufacturing, according to a story in The Gadsden Times.

The jury awarded the judgment to Adam Maroney in a lawsuit originally filed on Feb. 13, 2007. It involved the unintended discharge of a PT111 9mm Millennium Taurus handgun in 2005.

Maroney's handgun unintentionally fell to the floor in his garage.

Taurus PT111 9mm Millennium

Taurus PT111 9mm Millennium

According to a press release from Maroney’s attorney, Todd Wheeles, the gun was in a holster with the safety in the “on” position when it struck the ground and discharged, severely injuring Maroney.

Tim Bumann, an attorney for Taurus International Manufacturing, said his client was disappointed with the verdict and planned an appeal.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

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Comments (26)

none of this is going to happen because legislators are all attorneys. they will not cut their own throat financially by doing these kind of reforms. that is why health care reform will never work either. no attorney is going to kill himself financially by revamping the system thru tort reform. what was he carrying one in the pipe for anyway. sounds like a faulty holster too. maybe he should sue them as well.

Posted by: pa-cman | October 29, 2009 9:31 AM    Report this comment

Purchased a Millennium Pro in .40 S&W...took it to the range...fired ONE 180gr. HP round outta this piece of S*%#...the slide stop blew out...slide blew backwards off the frame ...hit me in the sholder...Needless to say...Taurus got an earfull from me the next day! I melted the sucker down in my lead bullet crucible...now it serves as a reminder (don't buy any plastic guns from taurus) and a great door stop!

In God We Trust...

Posted by: Geometric1 | October 23, 2009 2:49 PM    Report this comment

I think the quality of all gun manufactures is down. I recently purchased a Walther PPK/S made by Smith & Wesson and it was recalled for a problem with the safety. I had to send my Taurus Pt99 in for repair because the barrel came loose after approximately 150 rounds was through it. Ruger also has had recalls recently.

Posted by: Glenn G | October 23, 2009 1:55 PM    Report this comment

If memory serves Taurus is a Brazilian company and their guns are manufactured there. The Miami facility, I believe, is just sales and repair. So if jail time was an option, as has been suggested, could the responsible individual(s) even be reached? The U.S. has an extradition treaty with Brazil but I'm wondering if it would include an offense such as constructing a defective firearm on Brazilian soil. Same issue with some other foreign gun makers, e.g. Glock. I don't know the answer, not a lawyer.

Posted by: Dulrug | October 23, 2009 11:54 AM    Report this comment

Everyone had great comments, my comments were made in general and not just regulated to this instance. I apologize for getting off topic. I would be willing to bet that this case was more the gun owners fault and not Taurus. I did not mean to imply that anyone from Taurus should go to jail, I was generalizing. I think Taurus has good designs, however not the best quality. That is why you get some good guns and some bad, the design is good but all the parts are not up to spec or were installed with burrs and such that would hamper the reliability. I do not doubt that people out there have good Taurus's, however the probability of getting a bad one is higher than other brands. When it comes to defending my life I go towards the brands that have a lower probability of failure.

Posted by: Robert J | October 23, 2009 6:51 AM    Report this comment

Personally I have a PT 92 and I love it. Being retired military I hated the safety on the beretta (slide mounted). Everyone loves their colts, kinbers ect. well I love my taurus and it works, that's what counts with me.

Posted by: firstsoldier | October 23, 2009 4:32 AM    Report this comment

Personally I have a PT 92 and I love it. Being retired military I hated the safety on the beretta (slide mounted). Everyone loves their colts, kinbers ect. well I love my taurus and it works, that's what counts with me.

Posted by: firstsoldier | October 23, 2009 4:32 AM    Report this comment

Personally I have a PT 92 and I love it. Being retired military I hated the safety on the beretta (slide mounted). Everyone loves their colts, kinbers ect. well I love my taurus and it works, that's what counts with me.

Posted by: firstsoldier | October 23, 2009 4:32 AM    Report this comment

Well, geesh Gaviota. Your postings won't be as thorough if you leave out the historical data. I guess in the future you could post the website address that contains the information. I thought 1.5 million was a reasonable award. Heck, I won't play the lottery if it's not paying out more than 10 million.

Posted by: JWallace | October 23, 2009 1:48 AM    Report this comment

I've heard nothing but "thumbs down" to the PT 1911

Posted by: franconialocal | October 22, 2009 7:24 PM    Report this comment

The article doesn't have enough detail to determine what happened here. Were there any witnesses to the event? Was the unintentional discharge confirmed in testing? What evidence was presented to the jury, and what was excluded? Taurus probably makes some good stuff and some bad stuff, but it might be wise to wait for the appeal results before jumping all over them.

Posted by: KENNETH W | October 22, 2009 3:05 PM    Report this comment

I agree with everything you said Sharps. Unfortunately, the "shareholders" who wrongly suffer are usually the "minority" holders like those of us who scrap daily to make a living and try to use modest investments to build our nest eggs. Far too many public companies' shareholder "majority" is a very small, tightly knit group, and that majority is often also the leadership or former owners of the company. Their wealth and greed are ridiculous, as are their expectations for how quickly they receive the desired "return on investment."

Next, you see what I call the stock market tail wagging the corporate dog, where "The Street" puts forth unrealistic expectations and starts the snowball rolling. The directors have structured the executive compensation to reward "The Street" and provide pressure accordingly, especially when they are overly vested in the success of the company's stock. It doesn't take very long for the executives to begin making "business" decisions that favor the "shareholder" majority. In my opinion, the term "business decision" was created to absolve the offending management from responsibility for decisions that reasonable people would normally find unethical. In other words, everything is acceptable if it improves our profit. Too many attorneys....

So in the end, those type of "majority" investors often deserve to pay the price, but it is totally unfair for the typical American whose life savings are negatively impacted by the egos of a few Soros-esque billionaire "investors."

Meanwhile, I'll still put my money into a Springfield, Kimber (when you can find one), Ruger, or Smith & Wesson before a Taurus.

Posted by: PVB | October 22, 2009 1:34 PM    Report this comment

I think we must learn to seperate wrongdoers from the "company". When a "company" is fined, the folks that get hurt the worst are the stockholders, not the culprits. Find the culprits, make THEM pay and don't stick the "company". Everyone in the company suffers when huge fines are levied and often times the real culprits run free.i.e Congress. Let's hold the real decision makers accountable. Jail would be a great discipline for them.

Posted by: Sharps | October 22, 2009 11:22 AM    Report this comment

Good point, Gaviota. I think some punative damages are in order, though IF a person suffers some loss (limping, major scars [just major scars, little ones build character], etc). BUT the damages paid out should hurt the company, so make 'em pay big bucks to some charity or other (Crime Victim's Compensation Fund, even).
There are some circumstances wherein the victim deserved a healthy pay out. There are too many others, though wherein the "victim" was handed, to borrow your phrase, a winning lottery ticket.

Posted by: CeltKnight | October 22, 2009 10:14 AM    Report this comment

Thanks Gav - well said.

Posted by: PVB | October 22, 2009 10:09 AM    Report this comment

My comment was removed because Tim and I agreed that part my statement, regarding Taurus' well-publicized history of quality control, might cause Gun Tests possible legal problems.

The unexceptional part of my statement read something like this: I hate this punitive damages garbage, the sole purpose of which is to enable lawyers to jack up their fees. If it was a defective gun, then Taurus should have to pay for this guy's medical bills, lost wages, and expenses incidental to injury, and that's it. It shouldn't have to give this guy more money than he'll ever make in his lifetime and buy his lawyer a chalet in Aspen. The legal system is supposed to be a justice system not a damned lottery.


Posted by: Lee W | October 22, 2009 10:02 AM    Report this comment

I have several Taurus handguns, 5 to be exact. 4 of them have never had even a hint of a problem, one does when I use cheap ammo (which is pretty much all the time, I admit). They are not the crap that everyone on the web claims. Beyond that no one knows what happened for sure with the firearm involved. You can't put someone in jail every time there is an accidental shooting. You think triggers are stiff when money is on the line, think how it would be if jail time was on the line. The business would cease. Because of the frivolous, "I shot myself, and it is your fault" lawsuits plants would shut down. No one would take a job manufacturing a firearm, simply because risk would out weigh the reward. If a gun if faulty, yes pay a stiff fine, make it as right as you can. But every time someone has an accidental discharge is it the fault of the gun? Or is that only the case if it is a "cheap" gun, that you read about and someone bashed it on the Internet?

Posted by: Josh G | October 22, 2009 9:55 AM    Report this comment

Now, I'm all for slamming the heck out of company heads that release defective and dangerous products, don't get me wrong. The problem is that moving these suits into the criminal realm means moving from a standard of the preponderance of evidence (as used in a civil trial) to having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt (as is required in a criminal trial). I spend a lot of time in criminal trials. You'd be shocked and offended at what juries let walk out the door because of the slightest doubt.
Also, once again, we're back to the problem of how we'd bring about criminal charges against a foreign company's executives. Their reps in the US could easily disavow knowlege of defects just as CEOs can disappear those warning memos from quality control. Result: we tie up the criminal justice system even further, cost the taxpayers an inexcusable amount, then when the case is tossed out and goes to civil court for $$$, the defense points out how shabby the criminal case was and how this client was found not guilty.
I'm not saying it's fair or right and I'd like to see more done, but this is how it works.

Posted by: CeltKnight | October 22, 2009 9:55 AM    Report this comment

Hefty fines hurt the company's profit - yes; but, they usually don't directly impact the CEO's pocket the way CEO salaries are currently structured. Look at all of the CEO's who have driven companies into the ground, killed shareholder value, and walked away with a ridiculous golden parachute.

Jail time vs. lawsuits: We are talking about intent here. Use the Ford example above. IF the CEO (or plant manager, project engineer, line supervisor, etc.) KNEW there was a strong likelihood that the Escort was going to catch fire, AND decided that the benefits of moving forward without fixing the known deficiency outweighed the risks, THEN that executive should be personally accountable. If the Escort fire results in death, how is the executive's foreknowledge of a potential fire in making such a decision any different than one's decision to leave a loaded firearm unsecured in the presence of untrained children? In both examples, an adult makes a decision, knowing full well that their actions may result in someone being injured or killed.

We are supposed to be able to trust key leaders to ethically execute the duties of their offices. When they fail, they should be individually accountable, and not be able to hide behind a corporate safety net.

If you don't have very clear proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the incident was an innocent mistake, or the perceived risk was inconclusive; then the corporation should be liable and protect the individual who makes a noble attempt to do what's right.

Posted by: PVB | October 22, 2009 9:42 AM    Report this comment

You may be right, however big judgements just make trial lawyers rich. It doesn't appear to solve a thing.

Posted by: Robert J | October 22, 2009 9:41 AM    Report this comment

The problem with jail time is that the big corporation will have clauses in it's employees' contracts stipulating so-and-so is directly responsible for quality control. So-and-So will protest a gun isn't ready, CEO will release it and "Whoops! I guess So&So was right after all ... good thing we have that blame clause, eh?" The real ones responsible will never see jail, just the poor schmuck trying to feed his family.
How about foreign manufacturers (like Taurus)? We can't go to Brazil and put their designers in jail. Hefty fines hurt the company and the CEO's bottom line. That's the only thing big corporations understand.
That's my $.02

Posted by: CeltKnight | October 22, 2009 9:13 AM    Report this comment

Please let me clarify on my comment for jail time. Only if someone intenionally knew of a defective product and released it to the public anyway do I agree on jail time. The proof must be there of the wrong doing. I agree man made machines are imperfect and devices fail. I don't agree that by making trial lawyers rich will solve the problem, which has obviously not worked. There has to be some rational middle ground to hold companies accountable. Jeff is right, I think quality across the board has decreased in a lot of areas. Companies are getting down to the bottom line and are cutting quality. I don't know why Gaviota's comments were removed, they didn't appear to break the rules from what I remember. He always writes very well, I admire that.

Posted by: Robert J | October 22, 2009 9:04 AM    Report this comment

Never owned a Taurus semi, tho I do have two revolvers, one of which needed $85 in gunsmithing to make it function properly .. Taurus has a less-than-favorable reputation, especially on most gun forums, and it seems that in many cases it's well-deserved .. I disagree on jail time, that's a road I don't think we want to go down (CEO of Ford jailed because your Escort caught fire?) Machines are made by man, and man is imperfect, and machines fail ... pay the man and move on ...

Posted by: BILL S | October 22, 2009 8:36 AM    Report this comment

I never have owned a Taurus, and never will. This incident illustrates why I like a separate mechanical safety, like the "thumb safety" on a 1911.

I agree with the precept that jail time for individuals whose decisions lead to such negative consequences is a bigger deterrent than their company being held "financially accountable." However, there must be absolute proof that the unintended consequence was considered and deemed an acceptable risk. We can't have politicized prosecutors going haywire and destroying well-intended business peoples lives because a consumer is careless or just plain stupid.

Posted by: PVB | October 22, 2009 8:25 AM    Report this comment

Must be Gaviota's comment was removed. Jail time and a hefty fine would suffice. The fine would cover pain and suffering as well as medical bills. My first handgun was a Taurus Tracker .357" Titanium. It was my last Taurus as well. I Opened my wallet for Sig Sauer on the next four purchases. It appears that most gun manufacturers are currently suffering in the quality department (even Sig). You can't morally bypass quality to meet production requirements. Gaviota, are you going to review and repost?

Posted by: JWallace | October 22, 2009 1:06 AM    Report this comment

I couldn't agree more Gaviota. Better yet, in these legal cases of defective products I would like to see people punished (jail time) instead of just paying a settlement if they willing allowed a defective product to hit the market. Liberals argue against what you said because they feel that a company will not learn its lesson unless you have a huge settlement against them. I beg to differ, throw someone in jail and that will send a message. Just like this current financial crisis, out of all that mess someone should have been going to jail. People will risk there jobs to turn out a bad product, however they would be less likely to risk there freedom.

Posted by: Robert J | October 20, 2009 7:19 AM    Report this comment

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