Sig Sauer fires back at plaintiffs’ attorney in suits over P320 handgun
Company charges Connecticut lawyer misrepresented safety features in website video
An attorney gunning for Sig Sauer is now under fire from the Newington-based firearms manufacturer.
Sig Sauer filed the suit earlier this month against Jeffrey Bagnell, a Connecticut attorney who has repeatedly sued Sig Sauer over its popular P320 pistol, which he alleges fires without the user pulling the trigger.
The company filed the suit on March 5 against in U.S. District Court in Concord. It is related to a video published on Bagnell’s website about the P320, not for the firm’s advocacy. The video, which apparently has been removed from the site, doesn’t “accurately portray the P320’s internal components, and conspicuously omit(s) or alter(s) a number of safety features that would prevent such an uncommanded discharge.”
The company alleges the animation altered the geometry of several mechanisms to make it seem like the safety couldn’t function properly. It also didn’t include upgrades made to the pistol in 2017, the complaint says.
Sig Sauer alleges false advertising, defamation and unfair competition under the NH Consumer Protection Act. In addition to demanding that Bagnell stop publishing the video, it also asks for unspecified monetary damages.
Bagnell has sued Sig Sauer at least six times, including once in New Hampshire. He represents individuals – many of whom are law enforcement officers – who claim they have been injured by the pistol without even touching the trigger.
One suit filed in 2017 by Marcia Vegnaise, a seven-year veteran serving a sheriff’s office in Virginia, said the pistol fired when it jostled in the holster, which prevented her from touching the trigger. The 9mm bullet entered her right leg and exploded her right femur in five different places, Bagnell told a jury, according to a transcript published on Bagnell’s website. That suit was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2019.
One of the latest suits was filed by Bagnell in July 2020 in Concord alleges that a P320 misfired while Kyle Guay of Hillsborough, NH, tried to take it out of the holster after walking his dog. A trial for that case was set for July 19 of this year. On March 21, Sig Sauer filed motions to exclude evidence of some of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses in the case, and asked the court to dismiss the case because the plaintiffs couldn’t proceed without those witnesses.
Bagnell isn’t the only attorney suing Sig Sauer over this issue. Sig Sauer settled one class action without admitting guilt –Hartley v. Sig Sauer, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Missouri. While the settlement amount wasn’t disclosed, the company paid $850,000 in attorney’s fees.
And in September 2019, Douglass, Leonard & Garvey – local counsel in Bagnell’s Guay suit – filed Ortiz v. Sig Sauer, another class action suit in U.S. District Court in Concord. That trial is set for Oct. 4.
Neither Bagnell nor Sig Sauer’s attorney replied to NH Business Review’s inquiries by deadline.