Court Rules Remington Settlement Plan Sufficient Despite Low Claims

Remington has had a bit of a rough year, but that is starting to all be behind them. Not just the bankruptcy, but also a lawsuit settlement that was apparently insufficient for some people.

Of course, it doesn’t matter what those folks think of it now. All that mattered was what an appeals court thought of it, and that worked out well for Remington.

A federal appellate court upheld a settlement agreement between Remington Arms and class representatives despite concerns that too few gun owners participated in an effort to recall an allegedly defective Remington trigger design.

“The record makes plain that the settlement agreement was reached following meaningful discovery and investigation by class counsel and arm’s length negotiations between the parties,” the three-judge panel said in their opinion. “We conclude that the settlement was fair, reasonable, and adequate, and we affirm the district court’s order approving the settlement.”

The challenge targeted a Missouri federal court’s approval of the settlement in which Remington agreed to pay $2,500 to each class representative, $12.5 million in attorney’s fees and $474,892.75 in expenses.

While the lead groups involved found the agreement satisfactory, some representatives argued the payout should have been more given that an estimated 7.5 million allegedly defective rifles are in circulation. They also argued that the company launched an ineffective notice plan to market the recall because the effort to repair the defect covered less than 1 percent of the estimated figure.

The court found that the low claims rate wasn’t indicative of a poor notification plan and thus approved the settlement. In fact, they argued that many received notification and opted not to take part in the lawsuit, speculating that perhaps they liked their rifles just fine.

The low claims rate works in Remington’s favor, obviously. Fewer claims mean fewer payouts which minimize the hit to the bottom line of a company still trying to come back from bankruptcy.

That said, Remington’s Walker Fire Control trigger–the part at the center of this lawsuit–apparently has serious problems. The system has been linked to several problems through the years. This system represents a low point in the company’s development of firearms.

Not that it matters anymore. This settlement will protect the company, at least to a point, from future lawsuits. Those who were offered a settlement but made no claims won’t get the chance to make that claim going forward. This was their one chance, and they missed it.

But it should also be a lesson to Remington. Be very careful what you put out into the market. Test the hell out of everything to make sure it’s good to go. Don’t just test for what you can reasonably expect a gun to go through, but even stuff you think won’t likely happen but might–Sig might want to take this advice too. Make damn sure the things are as reliable as anything constructed by human hands can possibly be.

You do that, and customers will notice. They’ll notice it, appreciate it, and take it as a point of pride that they can trust their firearms to perform correctly no matter what.