United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division
SHARON TEAGUE and RANDALL TEAGUE, Individually, and in their official capacity as Co-Personal Representatives of the ESTATE OF MARK RANDALL TEAGUE, Plaintiffs,
REMINGTON ARMS COMPANY, LLC, REMINGTON OUTDOOR COMPANY, INC., SPORTING GOODS PROPERTIES, INC., E.I. DU PONT DE NEMOURS & COMPANY, DOES A TO K, Defendants.
L. CHRISTENSEN, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is the Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a
Claim (Doc. 3) of Defendants E.I. DuPont De Nemours &
Company; Remington Arms Company, LLC; Remington Outdoor
Company, Inc.; and Sporting Goods Properties, Inc.
(collectively, "Remington"). Remington contends
that Plaintiffs Sharon and Randall Teague have failed to
state a claim for relief under Montana products liability
law, and it asks the Court to dismiss the Teagues'
Complaint with prejudice. The Teagues have plausibly alleged
that a design defect in a Remington rifle caused the death of
their son, Mark. Thus, the Court denies the motion.
The Death of Mark Sears
a.m. on the morning of November 3, 2015, 16-year-old Mark
Teague was awakened by his mother, Sharon. (Doc. 1 at 11.)
Mark's father, Randy, found Mark dozing in a chair in the
living room shortly afterward. (Id. at 12.) Randy
greeted his son and said, "It's time to wake up and
get ready for school." (Id. at 12.) Mark
"responded as he always did." (Id.)
went to the bathroom to brush his teeth. (Id.) He
heard a loud noise and, thinking that something large had
fallen, walked into the living room to investigate.
(Id.) Mark was in the same chair he had been sitting
in minutes earlier, his Remington Model 700 bolt action
hunting rifle between his knees. (Id. at 10-12.) The
sound Randy had heard was the rifle firing-Mark had suffered
a massive gunshot wound to the face and head, and he was
dead. (Id. at 12.) The investigating coroner
classified the death as suicide. (Doc. 4-1.)
back, Mark's family has not identified risk factors for
suicide, and it does not think that it ignored any red flags.
The night before his death, Mark watched a Monday night
football game with Randy before playing video games, his new
kitten curled up in his lap. (Doc. 1 at 11.) Sharon, a school
teacher for nearly three decades, is trained to identify risk
factors among teens. (Id. at 12.) On the morning of
Mark's death, she found Mark to be upbeat and free of
signs indicating that he may be suicidal. (Id.)
had been a successful student, and he was active in his
community. (Id. at 9-11.) He was playing junior
varsity and varsity football during the fall of 2015, and he
was also a strong asset to his school's track and field
team. (Id. at 9.) A member of 4-H since the age of
nine, Mark had recently bought a steer to raise.
(Id.) He also had a summer job at a local ranch,
mending fences and putting up hay alongside his brother,
Matt. (Id.) In the months prior to his death, Mark
had not only gotten his driver's license but also
inherited his sister's old truck. (Id.)
Teagues were avid hunters, and Mark was gearing up for
hunting season in early November 2015. (Id. at
10-11.) Mark and Matt had gotten their tags for the 2015
season, and they had sighted in their rifles a few times
prior to Mark's death. (Id. at 11.) On November
1, 2015, the brothers went out hunting in the rain, to no
success-the only thing Mark shot at that day was a squirrel.
(Id.) When they came home, Mark and Matt stood their
guns up along the wall inside the house so that they could
family had strict rules about firearm storage and handling,
but Mark apparently failed to unload the rifle when he came
home on November 1. (Id. at 12.) The Teagues allege
that Mark remembered that his gun was still loaded on the
morning of November 3. (Id.) They claim that the gun
went off on its own as Mark attempted to unload it.
The Remington Trigger Assembly
Teagues allege that Mark was killed as a result of his
Remington rifle's defective design. They theorize that
the gun fired as Mark attempted to unload the rifle on the
morning of November 3, even though he did not pull the
rifle uses a trigger assembly design known as the Walker Fire
Control, which is specific to Remington rifles. (Id.
at 2.) As shown in the image below, the Walker Fire Control
assembly uses a floating trigger "connector" that