BIRMINGHAM, Ala., July 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — On June 29, 2017, The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the Miami Federal District Court’s approval of a class-action settlement. The settlement is the result of a class-action suit filed by Chris Carter against Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc., Forjas Taurus, S.A., and Taurus Holdings, Inc., alleging that nine Taurus handgun models had certain safety defects. Three class members, out of almost 1 million owners, opposed the settlement, but the District Court dismissed their objections and approved the Settlement.
In 2013, Carter was a Deputy with the Scott County, Iowa Sheriff’s Department. He owned a Taurus PT140 Millennium PRO pistol. While making an arrest, Carter’s gun fell from its holster and fired when it hit the ground. While no one was injured, Carter says the manual safety was engaged when his gun fell, and it was still engaged when he retrieved it from the ground. When engaged, manual safety is supposed to prevent the gun from firing. Carter filed an individual lawsuit against Taurus on behalf of himself and a nationwide class of people who own certain Taurus gun models, alleging that the safety devices on the firearm were defective. Carter was represented by Todd Wheeles of Morris Haynes and David Selby of Bailey & Glasser, who were the leading lawyers of the class action suit.
The settlement agreement covers a nationwide class of gun owners, who own one or more of the following models, PT 24/7, PT111, PT111PRO, PT132, PT132PRO, PT138, PT138PRO, PT140, PT140PRO, PT145, PT145PRO, PT745, PT745PRO, PT609, and PT640. The Settlement is valued at more than $30 million. Under the settlement, all class members can choose to turn in their class guns and receive one of two benefits: cash payment of as much as $200 or an enhanced warranty, under which owners can exchange their guns for a similar new model that includes a trigger blade safety.
Troy Scheffler, Richard Jordan, and Steven Glaviano challenged the fairness of the settlement, miscalculation of attorney’s fees, the expert’s qualifications, and potential violation of the Second Amendment. After careful review, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals found the opposition’s challenges to the class settlement and the attorney’s fee award without merit.
Morris Haynes believes this is a positive development in gun safety. “This affirmance is another step towards higher standards for safety mechanisms and testing throughout the firearms industry. At the end of the day, we hope this settlement provides safer options for gun owners,” said Todd Wheeles of Morris Haynes Law.