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Pollard v. Remington Arms Co., LLC

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 25, 2018

Ian Pollard Plaintiff- Appellee
v.
Remington Arms Company, LLC; Sporting Goods Properties, Inc.; E.I. Du Pont Nemours and Company Defendants - Appellees
v.
Terry Pennington; Rodney Townsend Objectors Lewis M. Frost; Richard Denney Objectors - Appellants Commonwealth of Massachusetts; District of Columbia; State of California; State of Hawaii; State of Illinois; State of Maine; State of Maryland; State of New Mexico; State of New York; State of Oregon; State of Pennsylvania; State of Rhode Island; State of Vermont; State of Washington Amici on Behalf of Appellant (s) State of Alabama; State of Arkansas; State of Louisiana; State of Michigan; State of Missouri; State of Nebraska; State of South Carolina; State of South Dakota; State of Utah; State of West Virginia; State of Wisconsin Amid on Behalf of Appellee (s)

          Submitted: February 14, 2018

          Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri - Kansas City

          Before LOKEN, BENTON, and ERICKSON, Circuit Judges.

          ERICKSON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Ian Pollard and others brought a class action complaint against Remington Arms Company, LLC; Sporting Goods Properties, Inc.; and E.I. Du Pont Nemours and Company (collectively "Remington"), in which they alleged certain Remington rifles were susceptible to unintentional firing without a trigger pull. Among other things, the class members sought to require Remington to repair or replace their firearms. After extensive settlement negotiations, the parties finalized a nationwide settlement. Appellants Lewis M. Frost and Richard L. Denney ("objectors") appeal the district court's[1] order granting final approval of the class action settlement agreement. On appeal, the objectors argue that the district court abused its discretion by approving a class action settlement that utilized an inadequate notice plan and one that provided inadequate relief to class members. We find no error and affirm.

          I. Background

         This action was commenced against Remington on January 28, 2013, alleging that design flaws associated with the Walker Fire Control made Remington rifles dangerous and unfit for use. The Walker Fire Control is a two-piece trigger design for bolt-action rifles first introduced by Remington in 1948 as a safety improvement design. The parties estimated that since 1948 approximately 7.5 million firearms were produced with the Walker Fire Control design. The complaint also alleged violations of Missouri law premised on Remington's alleged knowledge of the dangerous condition, failure to issue an adequate warning or recall, and false representations to the public that the firearms were trustworthy, safe, and reliable.

         During settlement negotiations, Remington discovered that its X-Mark Pro assembly process created the potential for excess bonding, which could lead to discharge without a trigger pull. Remington voluntarily recalled the affected firearms. The parties proposed two classes for certification: Class A, consisting of four subclasses; and Class B, consisting of two subclasses:

Class A(1): All current owners of Remington Model 700, Seven, Sportsman 78, and 673 firearms containing a Remington trigger mechanism that utilizes a trigger connector. Excluded from the class are: (a) persons who are neither citizens nor residents of the United States or its territories; (b) any Judge or Magistrate Judge presiding over the action and members of their families; (c) governmental purchasers; (d) Remington Arms Company, LLC, Sporting Goods Properties, Inc., E.I. du Pont Nemours and Company, and each of their subsidiaries and affiliates (the "Trigger Connector Class").
Class A(2): All current owners of Remington Model 710, 715, and 770, firearms containing a Remington trigger mechanism that utilizes a trigger connector. Excluded from the class are: (a) persons who are neither citizens nor residents of the United States or its territories; (b) any Judge or Magistrate Judge presiding over the action and members of their families; (c) governmental purchasers; (d) Remington Arms Company, LLC, Sporting Goods Properties, Inc., E.I. du Pont Nemours and Company, and each of their subsidiaries and affiliates (the "Trigger Connector Class").
Class A(3): All current owners of Remington Model 600, 660, and XP-100 firearms containing a Remington trigger mechanism that utilizes a trigger connector. Excluded from the class are: (a) persons who are neither citizens nor residents of the United States or its territories; (b) any Judge or Magistrate Judge presiding over the action and members of their families; (c) governmental purchasers; (d) Remington Arms Company, LLC, Sporting Goods Properties, Inc., E.I. du Pont Nemours and Company, and each of their subsidiaries and affiliates (the "Trigger Connector Class").
Class A(4): All current owners of Remington Model 721, 722, and 725 firearms containing a Remington trigger mechanism that utilizes a trigger connector. Excluded from the class are: (a) persons who are neither citizens nor residents of the United States or its territories; (b) any Judge or Magistrate Judge presiding over the action and members of their families; (c) governmental purchasers; (d) Remington Arms Company, LLC, Sporting Goods Properties, Inc., E.I. du Pont Nemours and Company, and each of their subsidiaries and affiliates (the "Trigger Connector Class").
Class B(1): All current owners of Remington Model 700 and Model Seven rifles containing an Xmark Pro trigger mechanism manufactured from May 1, 2006, to April 9, 2014, who have not participated in the voluntary X-Mark Pro product recall. Excluded from the class are: (a) persons who are neither citizens nor residents of the United States or its territories; (b) any Judge or Magistrate Judge presiding over the action and members of their families; (c) governmental purchasers; (d) Remington Arms Company, LLC, Sporting Goods Properties, Inc., E.I. du Pont Nemours and Company, and each of their subsidiaries and affiliates (the "X-Mark Pro Class").
Class B(2): All current and former owners of Remington Model 700 and Model Seven rifles who replaced their rifle's original Walker trigger mechanism with an X-Mark Pro trigger mechanism manufactured from May 1, 2006, to April 9, 2014. Excluded from the class are: (a) persons who are neither citizens nor residents of the United States or its territories; (b) any Judge or Magistrate Judge presiding over the action and members of their families; (c) governmental purchasers; (d) Remington Arms Company, LLC, Sporting Goods ...

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