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Parlayzed Montana Man Files Suit After Remington Model 700 Rifle Misfire

Jan 1, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP

A Montana man claims a defect in the firing and trigger mechanism of his Remington hunting rifle caused him to be paralyzed after it fired unexpectedly and hit his spine.

 According to a report from KTVM-TV in Bozeman, Mont., Brad Humphrey claims he was shot in the spine with an errant blast from his step-son’s Remington model 700 rifle. Humphrey has become the latest person to claim a defect in the trigger mechanism caused the rifle to fire unexpectedly and has filed a lawsuit against the famed gun maker.

 Humphrey and his step-son, Travis Kohr, were spotting elk during a hunt in 1989. As they were getting into their truck, Kohr slipped and his Remington model 700 rifle discharged a round, hitting Humphrey in the spine. Although he survived the shot to his back, Humphrey has been paralyzed since the incident more than 20 years ago. 

 This man is just the latest to claim defects with the “Walker trigger” on that model of Remington rifle causes the gun to fire unexpectedly. According to previous reports on other lawsuits and the allegedly defective mechanism itself, the trigger connector on this rifle was patented in 1950 and named after its inventor. The “Walker trigger” is designed to allow a “smooth, crisp” firing action on the popular rifle. 

 Millions own the Remington model 700 rifle. It’s been on the market for decades and is the preferred rifle of many hunters. A CNBC report from several years ago describes the trigger as “a piece of metal roughly the size of a paper clip” and is mounted on a spring inside the trigger.

 Previous lawsuits filed against Remington claim that even the slightest piece of debris on the “Walker trigger” can misalign it. This causes the trigger to separate from the rest of the firing mechanism. Those who’ve been victims of this defect say actions on the gun other than pulling trigger can cause it to fire when the trigger connector has been disengaged, such as using the safety lock or the bolt on the rifle.

 Through previous investigations, it was revealed that while the inventor of the trigger mechanism had advocated Remington add a mechanism that would hold the trigger and his connector in place that prevented the gun from firing, the company rejected the idea and stood behind the safety of its popular rifle.

 Remington still stands behind the safety of its original model 700 rifle but in the last five years has unveiled a new version of the gun with a new firing mechanism that’s supposed to be a spin on the device used for decades prior. The company allegedly elected to change the firing mechanism, completely eliminating the “Walker trigger” when it released the new model 700 rifle in 2007 because more and more lawsuits had been filed against the company.

 The “Walker trigger” with the allegedly faulty connector is still available on other models of the company’s rifles.

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