Settlement could include as many as 100,000 Taurus semi-autos
Brazil-based handgun maker Forjas Taurus SA has agreed to a $39 million settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging some of the company’s most popular semi-automatic handguns can discharge when dropped and have a defective safety that allows the gun to fire even when it’s engaged.
According to court documents filed May 15 in a U.S. District Court in Florida, the company has agreed to pay up to $30 million to owners of nine separate handgun models who opt to send their pistols back, with owners receiving anywhere from $150 to $200 for their pistols depending on how many choose that option.
The agreement also will extend the warranty for the nine handgun models, allowing gun owners to send the pistols back to have the handguns inspected by Taurus technicians and address the “safety defects” alleged in the suit. Documents show the settlement could include as many as 100,000 handguns.
The settlement also calls for a maximum $9 million in attorney’s fees.
A Taurus official confirmed the settlement agreement, arguing the company does not admit any wrongdoing.
“The Taurus Companies do not admit liability in connection with the settlement,” the official told Grand View Outdoors. “If anyone has one of these pistols, we are happy to inspect it under the warranty and suggest that they send it to us so that we can do so.”
The settlement stems from a class action lawsuit brought by Chris Carter, a Scott County, Iowa, sheriff’s deputy who alleges his Taurus PT-140PRO discharged when it dropped out of his holster during a pursuit. Court documents say the pistol had the safety engaged and a round was fired from the gun with the case remaining in the chamber.
Carter also alleged in his September 2014 class action lawsuit that Taurus knew about the defect and did nothing to inform the public or fix the problem.
“Despite actual knowledge of the Safety Defects, Taurus has never remedied either Defect, has never issued an effective and complete warning to the public or recall of the Class Pistols and Taurus continues to falsely represent to the public that the Class Pistols are safe and reliable,” the lawsuit says. “In fact, Taurus is aware that individuals have been seriously injured as a result of the Safety Defects, and it is only a matter of time before more individuals are seriously injured or killed.”
Taurus declined further comment on the case or the settlement pending a judge’s approval of the agreement.
Court documents say Taurus was forced to pay a $1.2 million judgement when an Alabama man shot himself after his PT-111 dropped to the floor and discharged in 2009. The documents also say the Sao Paulo, Brazil, police recalled its Taurus .40 caliber handguns after discovering the pistols could discharge with the safety engaged.
“Simply stated, the Class Pistols are defective and inherently dangerous, and Taurus has known about the Defects for years, but has allowed the Class Pistols to remain in the hands of unsuspecting gun owners to the imminent risk of harm to the owners of the Class Pistols and the public,” the court documents allege.
The settlement agreement covers nine Taurus models, including the PT-111 Millennium; PT-132 Millennium; PT-138 Millennium; PT-140 Millennium; PT-145 Millennium; PT-745 Millennium; PT-609; PT-640 and PT-24/7, Taurus says.
“Neither the settlement nor the allegations in the case include any of the popular Taurus G2 model pistols,” the company added.