Federal Judge Approves Remington Trigger “Recall” Settlement Agreement

Big Green has gotten a small amount of good news; a U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith has approved Remington’s Settlement Agreement with the aggrieved Remington 700 trigger class.

As with similar class action lawsuits, the lawyers win big. According to the opinion, the lawyers will get over $12.5 million for their fees with class representatives receiving only $2,500 each. While this may seem excessive for the attorneys, it certainly is compared to what Remington has spent replacing the triggers for owners – only $1.4 million so far for about 22,000 owners.

This brings the total claims rate to less than .29 percent with less than 8 million remaining potentially defective rifles still in circulation.

Still, Remington, the plaintiff’s attorneys, and the Court have agreed that the settlement can proceed. According to the Court, Remington has satisfactorily attempted to reach the members of the class with a specific website, notification across all types of media including radio. TFB has covered this extensively as well.

Fortunately, those who have not participated or filed a claim can still sue Remington individually, but it is likely that the main financial commitment of the “recall” that is not a “recall” is over.

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Esq. in AZ

    I get it, we all hate lawyers (I mostly do as well…and I am one) and class action attorneys do very well, but I wouldn’t say $12 million in fees for 19,000 hours is all that excessive as far as legal fees go. Also, from skimming the opinion this was an opt-out class – with an exception for personal/property injury – so unless you notified the court that you didn’t want to be part of the class, or you shot yourself, etc with your rifle, you’re not able to sue individually.

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      $12,500,000/19,000 hours = $657.89/hr.

      I get that the lawyers don’t get all that money (the money goes to a firm, who then pays them individually, I think), but that’s still a steep rate. Right?

      • Esq. in AZ

        Yes, if you’re not in a major market (NYC, Chicago, DC, etc.) $657/hr is damn steep. Billing 40 hrs/week for 50 weeks is over $1.3 million. To put that in perspective (and I looked it up) median attorney income last year in Maricopa County (Phoenix) was $118k, while Coconino County (Flagstaff) was $78k. Good money, but not $657/hr.

        As for distributing money, the lawyers do get all that money – a firm is owned by lawyers – it’s just how it’s divided up. Some lawyers are owners (i.e. partners/shareholders/members) and some are employees (associates/ staff attorneys) and your billable rate as an associate does not necessarily reflect your salary. No different than other fields. The fact that Boeing is making billions doesn’t mean the guy turning screws is getting rich.

        Anyways, after all that nonsense about legal economics, what I should have said originally: TFB needs to stick to guns.

        • Holdfast_II

          Right, but don’t forget all the non-lawyer costs within the firm – rent, photocopier, secretaries, subscription to legal journals, etc.

          Of course that $657 / hr also doesn’t include 3rd party costs – things like filing fees, fees to legal research firms, transportation, etc. that would have been incurred in the course of pursuing the claim (these are essentially 3rd party costs related to this specific matter, vs the costs of keeping a firm going generally that I noted in the para above).

          And that notional $657 / hour (well, really the lower amount after subtracting 3rd party costs noted above) is a blended rate – the first year associates on the matter would be billed at much less and the senior partners at much more.

          Then of course for a plaintiff firm that takes cases like this on contingency, you have to consider amortizing out the cases where you invest a bunch of time and come away with nothing or very little. Some cases will be winners, and others will be losers, and the business model has to account for that.

          So to sum up – the lawyers did alright but, assuming that those 19k hours are close to accurate – they didn’t win the lottery or anything.

          • Esq. in AZ

            Overall, I think we actually agree. My original post was critical of TFB for devoting 1/3 of an article to complaining about lawyers winning big and excessive fees and that an average fee of $657/hr is not excessive.

            As to the rest of your points….

            I’m not a plaintiffs attorney nor do I do class action work but I’m aware of the economics of practicing. Sure, rent, staff, and Lexis/Westlaw, etc. subscriptions can be can be substantial costs. Transportation shouldn’t be, and neither should copying. Filing fees are nominal and I don’t even know what legal journals you could be referring to. I’ll help you with the most substantial case based costs: expert witnesses and mediators (and yes, parties do hire mediators in the course of litigation).

            For the blended rate – who cares? It doesn’t effect the firm’s take home. Besides, the rates billed here were from $261/hr to $897/hr. Even $261/hr is over $500k/yr working full time and collecting your fees. You have to have a damn expensive secretary and office to not be doing well.

            Finally, as for loser cases, you don’t just take every case that comes and hope you win more than you lose. Those cases are never litigated in the first place. And, if you’re a class action attorney than by all means educate me, but many plaintiff’s attorneys have hybrid fee arrangements where they are also paid hourly. Not to mention investors funding litigation.

          • Sunshine_Shooter

            As someone who knows nothing about lawyering (outside of TV dramas), this discussion is exactly what I was hoping to see.

          • Phillip Cooper

            Do you even litigate, bro?

            (sorry, I had to…. even as much as I DEPLORE the word “bro”)

            No harm meant, just being snarky. It’s been a long day….

          • Bierstadt54

            Thanks for satisfying my curiosity. You ought to be the writer for these sorts of articles.

          • Esq. in AZ

            I agree. $657/hr. 🙂

          • flyingburgers

            You need to check the burden rate of a simple business. The billed rate is 200-300% of direct costs for any ordinary business, be it a restaurant, auto mechanic, non-profit. So $261/hr billed is hardly $500k/yr salary, it’s around $150k. Plus you have the contingency risk for lawyers.

            The Federal government, budget dollar to direct cost, runs at 400-500%.

          • Esq. in AZ

            Anything to back up the claim that billed rate = 2 or 3x direct costs across the board? I’m not a mechanic or restaurateur, nor do I run a non-profit, but I don’t think costs vs billed rates are all the same. Do you really think a hospital (most are non-profit) and a local taco shop are the same? I don’t. But, all I can say for sure, is that your claim that a $261/hr rate for an attorney equals a $150k salary is wrong.

          • flyingburgers

            TFB never approves links, but look up “Report to Legal Management” November/December 2008, Table 2, Expenses for Plantiff’s Contingency Litigation: 48%. Then add in Table 4, average realization, about 92%. Combine the two, and you’re at 2.26x.

          • Phillip Cooper

            I would disagree with this. I’m an IT guy and if I charged 2-3X what I pay for materials I’d starve.

          • Holdfast_II

            I’m not a litigator at all. But I have friends who are – and of course they do everything that they can to manage the downside risk, but sometimes despite their best efforts they have to eat a big write-off (it happens to transnational lawyers too). So you have to make it up on the “winners” – that’s the reality of contingency work.

            My point on the blended rate was that some readers might not realize how much the $657 / hr was an average that probably doesn’t correspond to any actual lawyer’s rate – I know you get that but it might not be clear to everyone.

            For transportation I was referring to lawyer travel costs, depending where the firm is located and where the matter was heard (or mediation conducted).

          • J.T.

            Another one of the big costs for a case like this is e-Discovery and Document Review. You could potentially have a million+ tied up in just that.

          • Holdfast_II

            True – though I had kinda assumed that those 19k hours included first-year associates doing document and email review. Though it could have been farmed out on a contract basis too.

      • Esq. in AZ

        Since I neglected: steep ≠ excessive.

      • KestrelBike

        $650/hr is standard partner rate, at least in SoCal

      • Jeff Smith

        When considering the amount that lawyers get from the lawsuit, one must consider the fact that a judge ruling in favor of Remington would mean that the firm leading the class action lawsuit would more than likely receive nothing. While I’m not 100% familiar with the case, there’s generally no cost to opt into a class action suit, meaning the firm assumes all of the risks.

        While $657.89 per hour may seem steep, pissing away 19,000 billable hours of your firm’s time is even more pricey.

  • Bison “FANatic”

    Do the lawyers “win big” or are you making that up? Isn’t #FakeNews when you but in unsubstantiated “feelings” into a statement represented as fact?

    • Phillip Cooper

      Lawyers always get most of the money in class action suits.

  • 22winmag

    I suppose a story on Tuesday’s dismissal of the Glock RICO lawsuit would be too much to ask?

    Perhaps TFB deprioritized it to make room for more knife reviews and grenade launcher videos.

  • Sandydog

    Yes, the lawyers ‘win big,’ but so does Remington–to the detriment of all 700 owners and the public.
    Remington does NOT have to admit that there is anything ‘wrong’ with the Walker trigger design; They can still claim that the people killed and maimed by 700s and 600s that have fired without a trigger pull are the only ones responsible for what happened to them, even though factory and court documents for the past 60+ years put the lie to that claim.
    They only have to replace triggers on the relatively few rifles that are returned to them (a miniscule number, so far), and can limit those returned to those that they ‘feel’ are new enough–plus they only have to replace the Walkers with a newer XMP trigger that has problems of its own. Folks that do not want to ship their rifles across the country, or who do not want an XMP trigger, are required to just sit back and relax, and hope that their Walker trigger doesn’t fail.
    Remington will only have to pay owners that have retrofitted their rifles on their own with new triggers IF the replacement was an XMP–not any other brand. For many owners, the only thing that Remington will provide is a $12.50 gift certificate for Remington products.
    As to whether or not ‘the lawyers’ are being grossly overcompensated, I leave that to you to decide; However, the foundation for the entire lawsuit is based upon the tremendous efforts of Richard Barber and Jack Belk, and the suit most likely would’ve gone nowhere without them.
    If anyone thinks that this is some kind of victory for the 2nd Amendment, think again.

    • JMR

      Meh, never had the walker style trigger fail. But I knew what I was doing when adjusting it, and that it needed to be cleaned every now and then. Maintenance.

      Also I don’t point my guns at people.

      • Sandydog

        You know, I’ve never been in a fatal plane crash. In fact, I’ve never been in a plane crash at all, and don’t know anybody who has. That must mean that planes never crash. . .
        ‘Maintenance’ with a Walker trigger is NOT a guarantee that it will not fail; The inherent design failure of the separate ‘connector’ on the trigger is the problem. The cleanest, newest, out-of-the-box Walker-trigger rifle connector that doesn’t return properly to prop up the sear will let the gun fire on safety release, and no amount of ‘maintenance’ will cure it. It’s a random thing: It may never happen, or it may happen the first time the rifle is used.
        The most known Walker-trigger case involved a rifle that was NOT ‘pointed’ at the victim; It involved a FRAGMENT of a RICOCHETING bullet originally fired at a 90-degree angle to the victim that took off on a tangent, as bullets can do.
        The fact is this: There IS no ‘safe direction’ to point an unsafe firearm.

        • JMR

          The guy was still down range of the firearm.

          As designed, the trigger does fine. If everything was built correctly and fitted correctly, maintained correctly, and not messed with incorrectly, it worked.

          Mechanical things fail.

          By your definition, firearms are inherently unsafe and they should all be banned, recalled and the parent companies sued into oblivion, because even a safety can randomly fail and cause an unsafe situation, I’ve seen that on safeties that block the sear.

          Luckily all the rules of firearm safety have been adhered to when I’ve seen these failures, and no one died, or was injured.

          • Sandydog

            Clearly, you are not to be convinced by me, so I’ll offer this advice: If you really want to learn more about the subject, I STRONGLY recommend that you research this case (Pollard v. Remington); A great number of documents are available online for free, showing ‘what Remington knew, and when they knew it,’ and the nature of the Walker defect in design.
            I also suggest that you read ‘Unsafe by Design: Forensic Firearms Investigations’ by Jack Belk. If it does not show you the truth, nothing will.
            Consider it a service from me to you.

          • JMR

            I’ve read them all, start to finish, though it’s been awhile.

            In the end, if someone was injured, someone was down range of the firearm when it went off.

            Any mechanical devise will fail, safeties fail, they all do it “randomly”

            By your thought process the only safe firearm is an inoperable firearm.

        • JMR

          Hey I got a question, do you own any AKs or ARs?

          • Sandydog

            Yes, both. And a couple of Remington 700s. With Timney triggers.

          • JMR

            hopefully it’s one of the models without a free floating firing pin.

            It’s an inherent design flaw that allows the firing pin to slam forward every time you charge a round, not unlike the r700 with walker trigger.

            In some ways they’re even worse, if you had a whole mag full the thing could run away.

            I’m really surprised given your stance and thought process on the walker trigger you would own such a dangerous firearm.

          • Sandydog

            I must be clairvoyant. . . I anticipated exactly what you were going to say.
            Your attempt at a ‘gotcha’ is futile. Sorry.
            I give you the same advice: Study the issue, read the book. Then decide.

          • JMR

            Hardly clairvoyant, because you anticipated wrongly.

            Again I’ve read the issue, I’ve been following this since before it was brought to court, because I saw the failure point before it was brought up.

            The triggers failed, just like any other mechanical device can.

            Compared to the numerous semi automatic firearms that allow the firing pin to slam into a primer upon chambering the design is infinitely better.

            Yet you seem to have no problem with those.

            The trigger is over 50 years old and millions have been sold. And there have been what 200 instances of people getting hurt?

            Seems like a pretty good record for a firearm that’s so dangerous.

          • JMR

            If you have a point, say it, I’ve already studied it and clearly came to a different conclusion.

            I’m guessing you don’t really have a point though.

    • Smedley54

      I’d settle for a commitment from Remington to implement continuous improvement in their manufacturing process, and quit trying squeeze out maximum profit for minimum effort. Beyond that, contributions to firearm safety training are deeply appreciated.

      Everyone hates it, but accidental discharges happen. Sometimes it’s the shooter, sometimes it’s equipment failure, but I’ve seen meticulously assembled and maintained rifles, in the hands of experienced, safe shooters go off accidentally. Nobody knew why, but the only new hole is in the firing line roof. Thank G-d.

      Does anyone know how many injuries are blamed on these triggers? Not counting soiled jeans?

      • Sandydog

        As of 2010, 24 deaths and over 100 injuries.

        • McThag

          Out of 5 million plus rifles made over 57 years.

          It’s a statistically non significant number.

          • DT

            24 dead and 100 injuries made possible solely to save the company 5 cents.

            Is that an an extremely small chance of injury, yes.
            Is 24 avoidable deaths bigger than 0 dead, yes.

    • n0truscotsman

      The only thing this does is keep me away from anything Remington. Indefinitely.

  • ciscokid3750

    Just think if firearms fell under the Consumer Safety Protection Act Remington would never have got off the hook for this and other types of guns being made today would also be under recall because of unsafe take down systems and or a lack of any manual safety. I am sure you know which gun I am talking about and also the others that copied the design.

  • gusto

    I don’t get it

    regardless of a faulty trigger behind each and every of those cases there is someone who didn’t follow the rules, no?

    • David B

      I believe some of those cases were things like the rifle fell/was dropped when hunting. You can be as careful as you want and follow all of the rules, but when your in the woods sometimes “it” just happens.

    • DT

      sorta. Some weren’t following always treat as loaded and never point at something you don’t want to destroy. But there are good reasons we have the third, keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready fire. This defect, in rare circumstances, caused the firearm to fire on its own. Even if you are following the other 2 critical rules, rifles that just randomly go off can create some dangerous situations.

  • uncle fester

    The summary is misleading:
    1) The $2,500 stipend for the class representatives has nothing to do with their damages or the amount of work done by their attorneys. It compensates them for their time because class reps have to review legal filings and often are deposed.

    2) 22,000 is the minimum number of claimants. They/we have opted in. For 18 months, other people can file for compensation.

    My plan: if I like the new trigger, I’ll keep it. If I don’t, I’ll sell the Remington and buy something better.