Federal appeals court upholds Taurus settlement over defective pistols

A federal appeals court upheld a $30 million settlement over defective Taurus pistols in a decision filed last month.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a lower court decision June 29 to approve the settlement against the gun maker for selling nine different pistols capable of firing when dropped, even with the safety engaged.

According to court documents, legal proceedings began after an Iowa Sheriff’s Deputy for Scott County, Chris Carter, said his Taurus PT140 Millennium PRO pistol misfired after it fell out its holster and hit the ground during an arrest in 2013. Carter said the safety was turned on and remained active even after he picked it up.

Carter sued Taurus on behalf of himself and more than one million Taurus pistol owners. After 90 hours of mediation and 300 drop tests, the gun maker agreed to the $30 million settlement, giving plaintiffs two options: a cash payment of up to $200 or exchange the pistols for an updated model with trigger blade safety.

Three plaintiffs — Troy Scheffler, Richard Jordan and Steven Glaviano — appealed the settlement terms, believing the $8.3 million in attorney’s fees to be incorrect, as well as expressing distrust in the expert hired to value the guns for the court and asserting the terms contradict the Second Amendment because it allows Taurus to “confiscate” any affected guns for repairs.

“Glaviano points to no case, and this Court has found none, that says the Second Amendment protects against this kind of action,” the decision says. “The Supreme Court has held “’the Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the States,’ … but has yet to extend this right to protect gun owners against the actions of gun manufacturers.”

“This affirmance is another step towards higher standards for safety mechanisms and testing throughout the firearms industry,” said Todd Wheeles, Carter’s attorney, after the court upheld the settlement June 29. “At the end of the day, we hope this settlement provides safer options for gun owners.”