Claims in Taurus settlement to be collected in August

Details about how to obtain benefits from a settlement over alleged defective handgun designs by Taurus International will launch on a website in August, according to a July 31 announcement by the plaintiff’s attorneys.

A federal judge gave preliminary approval to a class action settlement that could cost the company up to $30 million. The agreement would allow owners of certain Taurus handguns to either repair the alleged defect in the pistol or exchange the gun for cash.

If owners select the first option, the package includes an enhanced warranty that allows any owner to submit a claim at any time and Taurus will flip the bill; or if the pistol cannot be repaired, it will be replaced; and along with the warranty, Taurus will provide an online safety training course for operating and handling the pistol.

The payout would provide a less certain option. The price per pistol varies depending on how many people submit claims. Taurus may pay a maximum of $200 per gun or as little as $30, but the total overall payout is capped at $30 million.

In exchange for their claim, participants agree that they will not sue Taurus over the alleged defect and Taurus does not have to admit to a defective design. However, if owners exclude themselves from submitting a claim, they could file suit on their own.

The website to submit claims will launch at an unspecified time in August and the final approval hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 20.

According to court documents, nine Taurus pistol designs have an alleged defect that allows the gun to fire while the safety is engaged.

The initial claim involves a law enforcement officer in Iowa dropped his gun from its holster as he tried to apprehend a suspect in July 2013. The gun, which had the safety engaged, hit the ground and discharged a round.

While no one was hurt in that claim, several owners of Taurus firearms have suffered injuries following discharges after accidental drops, according to court documents. 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.

Taurus pistols subject to these defects include the PT-111 Millennium; PT-132 Millennium; PT-138 Millennium; PT-140 Millennium; PT-145 Millennium; PT-745 Millennium; PT-609; PT-640; and PT-24/7.