Gun Defects: What Are Your Options?

Like any product, when a gun is sold with a defect, the manufacturer is legally responsible for damages. If you discover your gun has a manufacturing defect, an attorney can help you get a repair or replacement for your defective firearm.

The Problem: Defective Firearms

In 2018, consumers sued Browning Arms Company (Browning) over a gun stock deformity. The defect was caused by a defective “soft-touch” stock coating. Consumers  claimed that over time, the coating would deteriorate and become sticky, making the rifle difficult to use. Because the defect limited its ordinary and intended purposes, the buyers sued Browning to recover the costs of the gun. In 2018, Browning offered a settlement in which they promised to repair or replace the defective rifles.

If I Own a Defective Firearm, What Are My Options for Getting a Replacement?

Today, Browning has an online form for consumers to begin the claim resolution process for their defective firearms. However, before Browning acknowledged the defective stock coating, consumers tried to negotiate a replacement or repair with Browning. Browning denied the requests. It’s common for large companies like Browning, Sako, or Beretta to ignore or deny consumer complaints. Sometimes consumers need to resort to the legal system before companies will account for the damages caused by a defect.

The Legal Solution: Gun Lawsuits

To help consumers recover from large companies, state law provides several methods to hold manufacturers and sellers responsible for defective products. Consumers can sue if they suffer damages because of a manufacturing or design defect. New York’s law allows consumers to sue by claiming a seller’s warranty, negligence, or strict liability.

Seller’s Warranty

Under New York’s Uniform Commercial Code, the buyer can recover according to the terms of a seller’s warranty. In these cases, the manufacturer has warranted that a product will perform in a certain way. If the product fails to perform, the injured consumer can hold the seller or manufacturer liable. To prevail through this method, the consumer must prove the existence of the warranty, its terms, and that the product as manufactured breached the warranty.

Negligence Theory

When a manufacturer sells a product in the U.S., that product must conform to its intended and advertised purposes. To recover under this theory, there must be evidence that the manufacturer unreasonably failed to meet this standard. For example, the company must have failed to use reasonable care when manufacturing and selling the product. The company’s failure to meet the standard must have caused defect and the resulting damages. In the case against Browning, the complaint alleged that the company failed to test the product’s long-term performance properly and concealed the defect from consumers. The plaintiffs claimed that the defective coating impacts the firearm’s grip, limiting the shooter’s ability to use the firearm for its intended purpose. As a result, the plaintiffs claimed the manufacturing defect caused economic damages. It worked, and Browning offered to settle the case.

Strict Liability Theory

A consumer can recover under a strict liability theory if a manufacturing, marketing, or design defect causes physical injuries. Under strict liability, consumers can sue manufacturers, sellers, or distributors without proving negligence. To win a strict liability case, the defect must have made the product more dangerous than expected when used for its intended purpose. There must also be proof that the defect existed while under the seller’s control.

What Can I Recover in a Gun Lawsuit?

If you purchased a defective firearm, you are entitled to recover financial damages from loss of use of the product or the cost of repairs or a replacement. It can be challenging to justify paying an attorney to file a lawsuit for your $1,800 gun replacement costs. However, consider that the Browning settlement allowed all U.S. residents who purchased any Browning firearm with the defective coating to claim a repair or replacement. A class-action lawsuit allows many consumers to act together and hold companies accountable for their mistakes. If you prevail in your defective product claim, you can recover your financial damages and enable thousands of other consumers to recover. In addition, the class action lawsuit allows named plaintiffs to recover attorney fees.

How Can Sheehan & Associates, P.C. Help Me?

If you have problems with a gun you purchased, other people will likely experience the same problem. Imagine if you could join together and take on the manufacturing company. Through a class-action lawsuit, you could force them to acknowledge the defect and offer to repair or replace the defective firearm so you can get back to shooting safely. Contact a class action attorney at Sheehan & Associates P.C. to start today.


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