Taurus ready to rebuild credibility, but hurdles still ahead

After settling a $30 million class action suit over a defective handgun, Taurus International’s chief executive officer said the agreement is a step to rebuild the brand’s credibility.

“A company that stands behind its product and is willing to do the right thing for the customer actually gives us credibility,” said Anthony Acitelli, the company’s CEO and president, in an interview with Shooting Sports Retailer.

The class action suit, which was filed in 2013, focused on an Iowan officer whose gun, a Taurus Model PT-140PRO, fell out of its holster and discharged as it hit the ground, an incident that highlighted a likely defect that has resulted in injury and even death.

“If you look at cases where companies had safety notices and recalls, the general public looks on that favorably and says this is a company that’s a good corporate citizen, that’s taking responsibility for their products, and we’re doing the right thing,” Acitelli said.

The settlement agreement requires Taurus to both issue a recall by buying-back affected firearms, or fix the issue and provide safety instruction. However, according to the language of the order, the company does not have to admit that its products are defective.

Per the agreement, which was finalized in November, a website has been launched to inform the public about the settlement and how owners of select Taurus pistols can submit a claim (for FAQ click here).

The settlement covers the following Taurus pistols: 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.

Also, according to the settlement, Taurus pistols owners could file suit against the Florida company, but they would be unable to participate in the recall.

The lawsuit has parallels to Remington’s infamous Model 700 trigger defect, which allows the rifle to discharge a round without the a trigger pull and has been the subject to dozens of lawsuits. However, the rifle was the subject of a major settlement in April.

In November, two separate plaintiffs filed suit in a Florida county court over Taurus’s alleged defect. One case says a Taurus PT 609 9mm handgun discharged as an Alabama man tried to seat a magazine and the round pierced his hand, his wife’s arm and their 11-year-old son’s neck, which killed him.

The second case says a Taurus 24/7 PRO DS 9mm handgun discharged when it fell out of a holster and hit the ground. The round struck owner in the leg and he suffered extensive tissue, bone, nerve and muscle damage.

Also like the Remington case, court documents in the Taurus cases have a body of work to reference. Along with documented evidence and video, 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.

Although the settlement has been agreed upon, final approval is scheduled for Jan. 20. If the court approves the settlement and there are no appeals, the claims period will run from approximately Feb. 24 until June 23.