Injured hunter accuses Savage Arms of negligence over exploding gun

By Sara McCleary | Dec 14, 2017

PITTSBURGH – A Templeton man who was allegedly injured when his rifle exploded in his hands has filed a complaint against the gun's manufacturer, Savage Arms Inc.

According to the complaint, filed Aug. 9 in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, plaintiff Jeffrey Forringer purchased a new Savage Model 14 caliber 300 rifle “some years prior to 2015.” Forringer had used the rifle without incident until Nov. 27, 2015, when, “on or about the sixth target shot, upon pulling the trigger with his left index finger (Plaintiff shoots left-handed), the rifle exploded, severely injuring the plaintiff,” reads the complaint.

The complaint lists the injuries Forringer sustained, which included multiple injuries to his hands, including the nerves, decreased blood circulation in his hands, and a loss of sensation and mobility. He claims needed multiple surgical procedures and therapy as a result of the injuries.

The complaint accuses Savage Arms of negligence, breach of warranty and strict liability, seeking damages for all three counts. Forringer seeks damages for past and future pain and suffering, disfigurement, embarrassment and humiliation, loss of the ordinary pleasures of life, medical expenses, and inability to work in his former capacity resulting in income loss and loss of future earnings and earning capacity.

In response to Forringer’s complaint, on Sept. 29 Savage Arms removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The defendant argued that its research on verdicts for similar injuries has shown the potential verdict for the case to exceed $75,000, which is “well in excess of the jurisdictional threshold.”

Forringer responded with a motion to remand, arguing that the notice of removal was untimely, as it was not filed within 30 days of receipt of the complaint on Aug. 14. 

However, in a decision filed Oct. 23, Chief Magistrate Judge Maureen P. Kelly found that Forringer did not originally serve the defendant according to Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure, having sent the complaint via certified mail rather than restricted delivery mail. 

Therefore, although the complaint was received on Aug. 14, “the time for removing the instant lawsuit did not begin on that date,” reads Kelly’s decision, denying the motion to remand.

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Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

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