As negotiations continue over the settlement agreement in a class action suit against Remington Arms, the father of a victim killed because of a defective rifle released a trove of internal company documents he’s collected over the years that undermine official statements made by the company in court.
Richard Barber, of Manhattan, Montana, submitted the documents on Dec. 21 for the case Pollard v Remington along with a letter describing his intentions. He says he wants to “educate the court” and correct the record that he says has been intentionally muddied by the gun maker.
“I have come to believe grossly misleading and deceptive statements were made to you during the February 4, 2015 hearing,” the letter states. “I have and continue to believe these false statements were possibly made with the intent to deceive the court, with the ultimate goal to minimize the financial impact to ‘old’ Remington surrounding one of the products not covered by the retrofit of the X Mark Pro covered by the class settlement.”
The documents contain the official transcript of a statement regarding Remington’s efforts to ensure its products are “safe” during the February hearing, and past company communications, which date back as far as 1975, that prove the company has historically chose to work around possibly deadly problems rather than fix them, Barber’s letter suggests.
Barber’s letter says that the company’s statements “were not entirely truthful, not even close!” and were offered to ease the judge’s expressed concerns about leaving owners at risk.
Exposing Remington’s infamy has been Barber’s crusade since his 9-year-old son was killed in 2000 when a Remington rifle discharged when the safety was released. Without a pull of the trigger, the round traveled through a horse trailer and then struck the boy in the hand and stomach.
Barber was awarded a settlement of an unspecified sum in 2002 for his wrongful-death lawsuit. Since the case ended, he says he’s collected millions of pages of content on the Remington trigger defect and because of his vast knowledge is considered a national authority of matters involving Remington bolt-action rifles.
Barber served as an expert on the class action suit, but ended his official involvement after the February hearing. He says he entered the letter “in an unofficial capacity as a courtesy to the court.”
When the court ordered the settlement in the class action suit in December 2014, the judge denied Remington an order that would prohibit the public access to documents in the case.
Negotiations for the settlement agreement, which would detail compensation, court fees and a recall or fix of possibly millions of Remington rifles, has been ongoing for the better part of a year. This week, a judge approved a motion to again extend the deadline to Feb. 29.