Motion to Intervene Filed in Remington Rifle Court Secrecy Case in Mont
In 1995, a lawsuit against the gun manufacturer Remington was settled quietly in Montana. The case involved a dangerous defect in Remington’s 700-series rifles: it caused the guns to fire without anyone pulling the trigger. But few consumers have ever known about Aleksich because there is almost no record of the case having existed.
After the 1995 settlement, Remington made sure that the entire court file was sealed from public view.
Prior to settling, however, Remington reportedly produced boxes of materials showing that the company had known of the defect since the 1940s, yet failed to notify the public of the foreseeable harm caused by its rifles.
Public Justice has just filed a motion to intervene and a brief in support of that motion in Aleksich v. Remington — the first procedural steps toward Public Justice’s ultimate goal of unsealing the court file, which will not only allow the public to finally learn the truth about the defective rifles, but may also serve as the impetus Remington needs to finally recall these rifles and make them safe.
Public Justice’s client is Rich Barber, a resident of Montana. In 2000, Mr. Barber’s nine-year-old son Gus was tragically killed when the family’s 700-series Remington rifle inadvertently discharged after a hunting trip. Gus’s mother was holding the gun, but her finger was nowhere near the trigger; she had simply pushed the safety to the “off” safe position to unload the rifle. But it fired nonetheless.
In the years since his son’s death, Mr. Barber has been working to raise public awareness about the dangerous defect. Last fall, after a ten-month investigation, CNBC aired “Remington Under Fire,” reporting that Remington continues to manufacture the defective rifles and contends that they are safe.
Staff Attorney Leslie Bailey, Goldberg Attorney Amy Radon, Public Justice Foundation Board Member and Montana State Coordinator Bill Rossbach of Missoula, Mont., and Richard Ramler of Belgrade, Mont., are all representing Barber.
ADDITION: This story was covered in the Missoulian on Friday, October 28, 2011.