Gun maker Forjas Taurus SA has agreed to settle a $30 million class-action suit with plaintiffs who claim that some Taurus handgun safeties, even when engaged, may allow the gun to fire if it is dropped.
After reviewing court documents in Carter v. Forjas Taurus SA et al. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, we’ve learned that a federal judge has given preliminary approval to a settlement negotiated the lawsuit brought against Taurus International. According to court documents, the plaintiffs alleged a faulty design in a number of pistols make them likely to discharge when dropped, even with the manual safety engaged, and allow them to be fired with the safety in the on position.
The affected pistols are:
The settlement doesn’t include Taurus Millennium G2 model pistols, according to the settlement terms.
The court did not decide in favor of the plaintiff, Chris Carter, a deputy for the Scott County, Iowa, sheriff’s department, or Taurus. They recently filed a joint motion asking for preliminary approval of the class action settlement in the Florida federal court. U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz gave her approval of the settlement on July 31.
While Taurus continues to deny any wrongdoing, the company has agreed to pay Class Members up to $200 for pistols that were returned, in addition to an enhanced lifetime warranty and training for the firearms. The minimum that class members will receive is $150. The proposed settlement would cover repairs of up to 200,000 handguns @ $150 each, up to the “aggregate cap” of $30 million.
Taurus will also pay $9 million in attorneys’ fees.
According to the court documents, the lawyers and law firms of Bailey & Glasser LLP and Morris, Haynes, Wheeles, Knowles & Nelson represent current owners of the pistol. As “Class Counsel,” they negotiated on behalf of Carter to have the Brazilian gun manufacturer provide owners of the named handguns (“class members”) extended warranties, training and $30 million to settle the allegations made in the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, the named Taurus pistols may “contain a drop-fire defect that may cause the pistols to fire when dropped from a normal height, and a false safety defect which allows the pistols to unintentionally fire even when the manual safety lever in in the ‘on’ or ‘safe’ position and the trigger moves rearward.”
Carter, who was working as a narcotics agent, dropped his gun on the ground during a pursuit and it fired, even though the safety was on. No one was shot.
According to the lawsuit, Taurus was aware of the defects in their guns since 2007.
According to a release from the plaintiffs’ lawyers, several owners of Taurus firearms have suffered grievous injuries following discharges after accidental drops, leading to months of surgeries and medical complications. 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.
A final approval hearing has been scheduled for January 20, 2016.