Thompson / Center Arms Found at Fault in Catastrophic Gun Failure
On September 1, 2005, I was severely injured by a catastrophic gun failure. My face was permanently disfigured and sight in my right eye was lost forever. I was shooting with the Thompson/Center Encore Rifle. It blew apart because of a defect in its design. That horrendous day propelled me down a path I never planned on or wanted in my life. Iím not speaking out for personal gain or to be vindictive toward Smith & Wesson or Thompson/Center Arms (Thompson/Center Arms has apparently been sold to Smith & Wesson). I merely want the truth about this rifle to be known. I donít want anyone to go through the pain and suffering Iíve endured. In my opinion, this rifle defect is something that was known about and has been covered up for years.
After almost 10 years of battling over the Encore, I received the final judgment order from the 46th Circuit Court for the County of Otsego, Michigan. I sued Thompson Center Arms (TCA), and the jury found TCA at fault. The jury found TCA to have a defect in its design and found their manual to be defective.
Throughout this entire process, from the day that my rifle had failed, until being given the green light to speak freely about this rifle, I have felt as though Iím involved in a David and Goliath scenario. In the end, no matter how much money they threw at this problem, with their team of lawyers and paid experts, the truth could not be veiled from the jury. At many points over the nearly 10 years since my injury, I have experienced hopelessness about the outcome of the case. One of these moments occurred during the trial. My attorney had in his possession letters, obtained from Thompson/Center through discovery, from other individuals who had incurred similar injuries from the same type of failure. Although the letters were discussed in open court, they were not allowed to be shown to the jury as evidence, based on a technicality concerning Thompson / Centerís claims as to when they had actually received the letters in relation to the date of my injury. A representative of the company did admit that he saw failures of this kind during testing. He also admitted that TCA destroys customer complaints every six months.
Because of the pending suit, I have not been able to share these details until recently. I cannot adequately express what a tremendous relief it is to be able to finally share the truth about the dangers of this rifle.
Most gun owners I know - including myself - thought suing a gun company was practically blasphemy. My suit was never about anything more than seeking truth. I believe wholeheartedly in the Constitution and stand for our Second Amendment rights. I love freedom. I was an NRA member when my injury occurred and Iím an NRA member now.
This is the first lawsuit brought against TCA regarding this rifle that has been successfully litigated. In my opinion, TCA is fighting me so hard because the Encore Rifle has been wildly popular. A recall would cost potentially a lot of money. Still, I am now finally allowed to spread the truth about this gun. Please notify anyone you know who owns this rifle that it could catastrophically fail!
The judgment is attached. I have blacked out the award amounts because the money is not important in this regard. No amount of money can compensate me for the loss of my sight and the years spent in recovery. Additionally, I truly believe this company will continue to fight this judgment, and as a result I will never see any monetary compensation. The court documents are now a matter of public record, and if you wish to seek out more details they can be obtained.
Thank you for your time, and if you would like any additional information please let me know.