Remington ads masked Model 700 defect, lawsuit says

A new lawsuit against Remington Arms takes aim at the company’s now infamous trigger design, the Walker Trigger Control, on the ubiquitous Model 700 along with language the company uses to market it.

Edward Burdett, of Jacksboro, Texas, filed the civil suit in a Dallas federal court on Dec. 22. The lawsuit is to cover medical costs, court costs and an award exceeding $75,000.

According to the complaint, Remington violated consumer protection laws by falsely advertising the quality of its products, and was negligent by knowingly manufacturing a faulty design.

Burdett needed extensive medical treatment, including reconstructive surgery to salvage his foot, because a round discharged and struck his foot as he closed the bolt on his Remington 700.

The incident occurred late December 2013 when he was on a hunting trip in Wichita Falls. Burdett and two friends, one of whom is a Texas Game Warden, were sitting inside a pickup truck parked on the ranch after five or six hours of hunting, the complaint says.

The lawsuit describes Burdett’s rifle as sitting next to him with the bolt open, which is required by state law, and barrel pointed toward the floor of the truck. But then the group saw a band of hogs walking toward the truck, so Burdett grabbed his rifle and slid the bolt closed to load the rifle.

However, the rifle discharged as the bolt closed and the round struck Burdett in the foot. He did not pull the trigger, the lawsuit says.

The complaint borrows details from other cases against Remington’s Walker Trigger Control, which has been the subject of dozens of lawsuits. One of which, in 2014, Remington settled a class action suit. While the settlement is still being negotiated, the recall will affect millions of rifles and cost several millions of dollars.

The lawsuit says Burdett’s rifle was built in 1984, but he bought it new from a Georgia gun store around 1997 or 1998. In turn, the lawsuit invokes Remington’s marketing language that describes the guns as built for a “lifetime of use” and “lifetime of shooting enjoyment.”  The lawsuit says Remington knew the rifle did not meet those standards, but promoted them anyways.

As evidence, Burdett’s attorneys submitted an excerpt from a 1989 deposition of a Remington engineer, Edward Barret, in a lawsuit described Remington’s dedication to the warranty.

“We make a product that last generations, lifetimes and one of the ongoing problems we had at Remington was having somebody bring in a shotgun that was made in 1932 and asking that it be repaired or parts replaced and being unable to replace those parts, so we had sort of an implicit agreement with the customer that his gun would last a lifetime and that we would repair it a lifetime,” Edwards said, according to the transcript recorded by a Texas county court.

The case referenced (Chapa v Remington) dates back to 1984 and entails another Texas man who was injured while using a Remington 700. He then tried to determine if Remington tried to prevent future accidents by fixing the defect.