Remington Outdoor has been ordered to pay a Louisiana plaintiff $500,000 in damages resulting from a 2013 hunting accident involving a Remington 710 Rifle. The plaintiff, Precious Seguin, was granted summary judgement buy Judge Ivan Lemelle under the Louisiana Product Liability Act placing blame for Seguin’s injuries on the rifle. This despite Remington’s argument that the gun in question had been tested and shown to only fire when the trigger was depressed.

Seguin was hunting on October 28, 2013 with her father, brother and and a friend. According to the judge’s order:

The party moved through the woods in a single file in the following order: Perilloux, J.R., Precious, and then Bubba. Rec. Docs. 53-3 at 3; 61-3 at 2. Plaintiff maintains that, at one point, she bent over, facing the opposite direction of the group, to look for a blood trail. Rec. Doc. 61- 3 at 2. The rifle, then pointed in Plaintiff’s direction, discharged and struck Plaintiff in the right buttocks, traveling through her hip and exiting through her right elbow.

Remington argued that the hunting party was moving through brush and the rifle didn’t just “go off”:

Defendant maintains that Plaintiff’s description of the alleged design defect is “not only irrelevant . . . [but] inaccurate.” Rec. Doc. 155 at 2. It specifically notes that the rifle never accidentally discharged either before or after the incident; independent testing showed that the rifle could only be fired by pulling the trigger; the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries concluded that the trigger either caught on an object and/or the accident was caused by reckless handling of the rifle; and J.R. told law enforcement that a tree branch pulled the trigger. Id. at 2-3 (citations omitted). Defendant’s arguments are noted by the Court. Nonetheless, the Court will summarize Plaintiff’s allegations. Whether or not the rifle was defectively designed is not an issue presently before this Court and the Court makes no determination as to this issue.

This is likely not the last word on the matter. Expect Remington to appeal the verdict. Remington agreed to a settlement in March involving their Walker Fire Control system that was the subject of over 4000 complaints including about a dozen deaths.

 

47 Responses to Remington Outdoor Ordered to Pay $500,000 in Louisiana Personal Injury Suit

  1. Reading this, I somehow have the feeling there’s a “hold my beer and watch this!” moment that isn’t being talked about.

    • I don’t know about that. Two different Rem 700s in our family fired without trigger pulls. One with a safety flick and the other when the bolt was seated.

      So in my experience Remington earned the right to be guilty until proven innocent.

      • according to the article, the court didn’t even rule on whether the gun was operating correctly or not.

      • Yeah I have to agree with your brother I’ve seen it personally I don’t know about a lot of guys but I’ve actually seen a Remington 700 sitting on a bipod at an army range and the operator says watch this brother he says look the safeties on you showed me he grabbed the bolt handle and he moved it just a little tiny bit upward to unlock the bolt and the rifle discharged and out of about 25 rifles 4 would do this all the time they had replaced the triggers with brand new Remington triggers and sometimes that would fix the problem sometimes not. Remington has had this issue with their 700 series rifles since the mid sixties maybe early seventies it all started with the Walker trigger and even their updated triggers that we’re supposed to eliminate this problem that they’ve known about for years they fell as well your best bet is if you own a Remington 700 is to buy a Timney trigger and be done with it.

      • “So in my experience Remington earned the right to be guilty until proven innocent.”

        I hope you never get selected for a jury.

      • Lets not forget their shotguns that like to ‘go off” when they fall / are dropped.

        Absolutely deserved this for sitting on the problem for so long and occasionally issuing a trigger recall.

  2. Wow. This sounds *exactly* like what happened to Seth Rich last year when the DNC put a ‘hit’ on him.

    Lightning CAN strike twice…….

      • Sarcasm. But it’s IMPORTANT sarcasm, especially for the 2A community, and we need to pay attention to it. When the truth comes out on Seth Rich’s murder, the DNC is going to try to spin it as a “gun control” issue. It’s not.

        It’s political intimidation of the most dangerous kind.

  3. Seems like we don’t need antigunners to put gun companies out of business, the potg are doing a good enough job.

    • ^^^This. If a company has to be “perfect” or else they’re “dead to you”, you can expect your list of acceptable business partners to get extremely small.

  4. So much negligence involved on the part of the shooter and Remington is the one who gets to pay? I hated Remington’s Synthetic, El Cheapo entry into the bolt action hunting rifle race, but WTF?

    • if you’re talking about the issue of keeping your weapon pointed in a safe Direction it was proven in a court case many years ago on this same issue that how do you know what a safe direction to point your weapon in is if you don’t know when the gun will go off? This isn’t the first time this has happened and I’m not a Remington hater however it’s up to the manufacturer of this weapons platform to make sure that the gun does not accidentally discharge when your finger is off the trigger and the safety zone and all you do is touch the bolt handle that is absolutely unacceptable. and this problem has been going on since the late sixties. you guys need to look some of this up I’m telling you going to be flabbergasted when you see how many people have accidentally shot themselves using the Remington 700 model rifle now you may have the 7:10 and I think they make Remington 700.

  5. “Perilloux, J.R., Precious, and then Bubba”

    Oddly enough, this was the seating order at our last family reunion in the Hamptons.

  6. If the court has stated that the issue is not whether the gun is defective, then what is the issue?

    Seems like a bad ruling, if the court really said that it doesn’t matter whether the gun was defective or not.

    How can a manufacturer be held liable for an owner misusing a properly functioning item?

    • Agreed. Call me confused. If the Louisiana Product Liability Act doesn’t require the plaintiff to prove that the product was unsafe, then it’s a bad law.

      • @Curtis, it is a bad law, but not for that reason. Because of clauses that seemed contradictory, it was unclear whether the statute barred this case against Remington even if there was a defect. It took the court 28 pages to suss it out.

      • Yes, Ralph is right. The issue presented to the court was whether or not the Louisiana Products Liability law applied to the case. Pursuant to the agreement of the parties, If the court found that it did apply, then the parties had stipulated that Remington would pay $500K. If it did not, then Remington would win.

        I haven’t read the decision, but there is no reason that a firearms manufacturer should be held immune from liability for a defective product that causes injury. The issue here arose because the Louisiana Legislature didn’t know how to clearly write a law–maybe because of all the bribes they’d received to let some manufacturers off the hook, = (but I speculate).

  7. Two people out hunting named “Precious” and “Bubba”? Jesus, you can’t make this stuff up.

    Also, perhaps I’m missing something, but if the court didn’t find that the rifle malfunctioned, and that this is what caused the injury, then how is Remington at fault? Isn’t that kind of the point of a lawsuit like this? To say, “It wasn’t my negligence, it was their negligence” and then, on some level, prove that to be the case?

    • Read the entries Ralph and I put just above. Apparently Remington did not want to go to trial on this case, and put all of its eggs in the basket that the products liability statute did not apply to it. All of your statements would be directly relevant had the case gone to trial, as well as comparative fault (both the shooter and the rifle being at fault), but Remington did not want to risk a verdict after all the bad press it has received about its self-firing triggers. A good defense will not necessarily overcome the prejudice and bias inherent in bad press.

  8. “The rifle, then pointed in Plaintiff’s direction, discharged ”

    The rifle pointed at the target and fired all by itself? So an artificially intelligent Remington 710 owned by naturally stupid people. Got it.

  9. So the state government concluded the gun wasn’t at fault, and a witness on the scene said the gun wasn’t at fault, so why the frak did a judge decide Remington was at fault? What kind of jurisprudence ignores both its own state government and the witness?????

    I know they’re relying on the law’s “reasonably anticipated use of the product” language, but have to ignore the following “unreasonably dangerous” requirement for liability — unless they are seriously claiming that the ordinary trigger guard that has kept rifles from going off millions of times that they’ve been bumped into other objects for decades is “unreasonably dangerous”.

    Looks to me like we’re dealing with a judge who needs to learn to read.

    • If you read the decision, you will see that the judge can read just fine. Remington stipulated that if the statute applied to it, it would pay. The court therefore did not have to address the evidentiary dispute as to whether or not this particular rifle was or was not defective.

  10. You know maybe if this was the first time this kind of stuff has happened with the Remington 700 series rifle I could believe Remington. But this is about the 15th or 16th person I’ve heard of being shot buy a Remington 700 model rifle and the newer versions as well. It all started with the Walker trigger many many years back mr. Walker designed a very good 3 & a half pound rifle trigger for hunting and target shooting and he implemented safety features that had people specifically trained to check certain points of the trigger to make sure it was absolutely perfect before it went out the door. However when mr. Walker retired Remington thought those two extra people on the production line was a waste of money and time and shortly after that you started hearing of people suffering rifle Woods by simply carrying their rifle finger nowhere near the trigger and yes the rifle was on safety. In the army we called this a Remington moment when are sniper units were training at Fort Bragg certain rifle even with the safety on with a round in the chamber if you touch the bolt handle the slightest bit the rifle would drop the firing pin on the primer of the bullet. The drill instructors used to call this a Remington moment like the rifle had a mind of its own to discharge whenever. Multiple SWAT teams all over the country have complained of this exact thing they are on target on safety and they go to change rounds or unload the rifle and as soon as they bump the freaking Bolt the rifle discharges that’s why a lot of police agencies went away from the Remington 700 years ago accident waiting to happen is what a lot of SWAT snipers had said. Take it for what it is but if you research the Remington 700 and the Walker trigger and every 700 made from that date you will see that accidental discharges when people are unloading their rifle and loading the rifle and carrying the rifle is very very prevalent. If you guys want Google Remington 700 accidental discharges that result in injury or death and you’ll get pages of it. My $0.10 maybe a dollar fifty LOL. worth.

    • Past actions and accolades neither negate nor aggravate current circumstances. They are distinct and different.

      From the story: “…the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries concluded that the trigger either caught on an object and/or the accident was caused by reckless handling of the rifle; and J.R. told law enforcement that a tree branch pulled the trigger.” [Emphasis mine.]

      Regardless of past problems with the Rem 700 rifle, the investigation determined this to be user error/negligence and a member of the plaintiff’s party openly stated that it was, in fact, negligence on the part of the user.

      • Yeah I have to agree on that one if the Wildlife Game Fishery found the trigger not to be defective then operator error seems to be the only possibility left. I can’t believe that they would be able to sue a manufacturer because the user of the product is a freaking moron? But who knows you know how court cases go when you get a bunch of asshat lawyers involved and the BS starts running knee deep LOL.

  11. Wasn’t it in Louisiana where people were going to a small town pharmacy to fill fen-phen prescriptions just so they could file suit against the pharmacy and drug company in a court that was a haven for plaintiff jackpots?

    I don’t understand Napoleonic Law much, but in real law, isn’t summary judgment reserved for when there is no disputing the facts, or if one side loses even if you assume their version of the facts is accurate?

      • The federal judge decided this issue based upon Louisiana law, not USC and federal rules/precedents. See the bottom of Page 9 in the judge’s order.

    • Napoleonic Code simply means, for practical purposes, that all law is statutory and English common law does not apply. You are correct that summary judgement cannot be granted when there is a dispute in the evidence, even in Federal court (usually); however in this case, the parties took that question out of the equation. The only question for the court was a question of law: did the Louisiana statute apply to the case? If it did Remington had agreed in advance that it would pay $500,000 if the law applied, and if it did not apply, Remington would skate.

  12. This story has to be fake news.
    I have been told, by people who swear it’s true, that firearm manufacturers have immunity from all lawsuits.

  13. I don’t get all these idiots, really. It’s never the gun’s fault you got shot or someone else got shot by you, even if ‘it fired on its own’. You pointed that barrel at what was struck by the bullet you idiot.
    Bending over to look for blood on ground and the end of a rifle was pointed at your butt, the bullet went through hip and elbow? That’s some kind of magic right there, JFK assassination sequel. 😀

    • I’d like to see a diagram of the bullet path and the position of the body for it to travel in such a path.

  14. “Expect Remington to appeal the verdict.”

    There was no verdict. Remmy agreed to proceed by cross-motions rather than by trial, probably to avoid trial costs and a damn good whacking by a jury.

    Initially, there was a decision that Precious (dontcha just love that name?) could bring a design defect claim against Remington under the cited Louisiana statute.

    This rather complex decision was required because the LA law was so poorly written that it took a court and 28 pages to figure out what the hell it meant.

    Second, the court awarded Precious her money “based on the stipulations of the parties.” I have no idea what those stips were, but it seems that they cost Remmy half a mil.

    Like Vicki Lawrence said, “don’t trust your soul to no backwoods southern lawyer.”

    • I’m just curious Ralph, if, as “J.R.” said, a stick pulled the trigger and the investigation found that this was caused by a foreign object inside the trigger guard (carelessness) or “reckless” use of the firearm, then why would Remington worry about a “damn good whacking by a jury”?

      It seems to me, that on the face of it, it’s 100% user error in this case, supported by an investigation and an eyewitness account.

      • Maybe it was user error and maybe it wasn’t. If it was user error, then Remmy should have gone to trial and won, not signed on to stipulations that cost the business five hundred large.

        Why the company chose to forego a trial is something you’ll have to ask their lawyers, but usually it’s because the exposure is too great to take the chance of a damn good whacking.

        • Well, as you pointed out yourself “…LA law was so poorly written that it took a court and 28 pages to figure out what the hell it meant.”

          With that sort of imprecision in the law I’m not sure I’d want to go to court even if I knew I was right.

          I like that “damn good whacking” description though.

      • strych9 said: “I’m just curious Ralph, if, a “J.R.” said, a stick pulled the trigger and the investigation found that this was caused by a foreign object inside the trigger guard (carelessness) or “reckless” use of the firearm, then why would Remington worry about a “damn good whacking by a jury”?”

        Juries are rather notorious for not being entirely logical.
        I have often heard it said t hat going to trial is a crap shoot, and I believe it.
        I have sat in on several trials, from small claims to Superior Court, and have seen how the side that better explains its case will often win out over the side that is legally right.
        With so many people being anti-gun, I can perfectly see many prospective jurors hide that fact to get on a jury so they can stick it to someone connected to guns, from an owner to a user to a maker. (I’ve been on a few juries,and have personally known jurors to hide facts so they can get on a jury.)

        • They don’t even have to be anti-gun. They only have to buy into the story that the Walker trigger is defective, a story that has wide spread publicity, and which other commentators above have noted.

        • I’ve sat on the jury for a couple of very serious cases and it’s my anecdotal experience that the juries are usually pretty serious and careful about decisions. Of course, unless someone knew the defendant in these cases no one would have had a political ax to grind… so there’s that.

          What struck me about one of the cases though is how the rules of evidence worked. A slick defense attorney pretty well had 80% of the prosecutions case thrown out on a technicality that he knew of but the ADA didn’t. As a jury we were careful and thorough but it came down to the DA not having a case because we didn’t see the evidence. The judge explained it all to use afterwords and we certainly would have convicted the guy had we seen all the evidence but we didn’t so we let the guy go.

          That is the kind of thing that would worry me more than an idiot jury.

    • Yes, Ralph, there is a verdict–a judgment in favor of plaintiff–and yes, it is appealable. Summary judgments are the same as any other judgment for the purposes of finality and appeal. The question presented to the trial court was whether the statute applied to Remington, a pure question of law based on the stipulations of the parties. That decision is reviewed on appeal de novo. And since it is either a yes or no question, there never will be a full blown trial.

  15. “Whether or not the rifle was defectively designed is not an issue presently before this Court and the Court makes no determination as to this issue…”

    Wait, what? Are we missing something here? I went through the order. Here’s the relevant passage:

    “No firearm manufacturer or seller shall be liable for
    any injury, damage, or death resulting from any shooting
    injury by any other person unless the claimant proves
    and shows that such injury, damage, or death was
    proximately caused by the unreasonably dangerous
    construction or composition of the product as provided
    in R.S. 9:2800.55.”

    The passage is clear and concise, right?

    The judge then uses 28 pages of legal nonsense to ‘cast doubt’ on the meaning of that section and thereby allow himself or herself (for some reason there’s no clear name, just a illegible signature) to not take it literally and instead believe whatever he wants about it.Then, because both parties agreed to have summary judgements instead of a trial (GREAT MONEY SAVING IDEA REMINGTON LEGAL TEAM!), the judge doesn’t even bother looking at evidence as to whether the gun was defective- because he has decided the law means anything he wants, there’s no need to!

    So, basically what you’d expect- a judge completely ignoring the law and making his own to achieve the conclusion he wants.

  16. Louisiana is the only state in America whose civil law is based on French legal code, rather than English common law. From Wikipedia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Louisiana

    Law in the state of Louisiana is based on a more diverse set of sources than the laws of the other forty-nine states. Private law—that is, substantive law between private sector parties, principally contracts and torts—has a civil law character, based on French and Spanish codes and ultimately Roman law, with some common law influences….

    One often-cited distinction is that while common law courts are bound by stare decisis and tend to rule based on precedents, judges in Louisiana rule based on their own interpretation of the law….

    Products liability litigation in Louisiana has been shamelessly anti-manufacturer. The trial bar in Louisiana is very colorful, which is a polite way of saying deceitful. Remington just got treated to a Frenchy-style kangaroo court.

  17. It’s difficult from the excerpt of the court decision we have been provided with to form an educated opinion on the result of the case in Louisiana. Add to that the fact that, unlike all 49 other states, all U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, Louisiana has Napoleonic law from France. The rest of us get our Laws from England.

    Still, to some extent, Remington seems to deserve this. If you screw up often enough and for long enough, at some point you lose the benefit of the doubt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *