Attorneys for Remington and class action plaintiffs did not respond to emails seeking a comment. The plaintiffs' lawyers stand to collect $12.5 million in fees if the settlement is approved.
The U.S. District Judge overseeing the class action case, Ortrie D. Smith of Kansas City, Missouri, has already expressed skepticism about the deal. Last December, hours after a CNBC follow-up investigation uncovered more internal Remington documents discussing the alleged defect, Smith ordered the parties to come up with a more effective plan to notify the public about the trigger replacement offer.
In response, the parties added nationwide radio ads and a social media component to the campaign. As of August, before the enhanced push began, only about 6,500 claims out of 7.5 million guns had been filed, according to court filings. The parties have not provided any updates on the response rate since then.
In an affidavit filed as part of Frost and Denney's objection, Philadelphia-based consultant Todd Hilsee — an expert in class action claims notices — argues that even with the enhanced campaign, 95 percent of the guns in question will not be repaired.
Also criticizing the settlement — his first formal objection to the deal — is Richard Barber, a Montana man whose nine-year-old son was killed in 2000 when he says a Remington Model 700 fired unexpectedly during a family hunting trip. The Barber family reached a wrongful death settlement with Remington in 2002, and Barber initially served as a paid consultant to the plaintiffs in the class action case. But he said he resigned in 2014 after the plaintiffs joined Remington in asking Judge Smith to seal the very documents Barber had uncovered to bolster their case.
"This alleged maneuver would render me and my research useless and would forever protect Remington's darkest secrets from ever being exposed," Barber wrote in a 40-page letter filed with the court on Friday.
Smith ultimately denied the joint request for a so-called protective order. Last week, the advocacy group Public Justice published thousands of the documents in an online database.
Of particular concern to Barber is a class of discontinued Remington guns that are also covered under the class action settlement but are ineligible for a trigger replacement. Some 250,000 of the guns are still on the market, including models 600, 660, Mohawk 600, and the XP-100 bolt-action pistol. Remington claims the guns, produced between 1962 and 1982, are too old to be retrofitted, and is instead offering owners a $12.50 product voucher.
Barber said the provision ignores the fact that Remington previously recalled the guns in 1978 over the same safety issues, and remains obligated to fix them. He alleged Remington and the plaintiffs in the class action case deliberately hid that information from Judge Smith, and said Remington should face penalties as a result.
"I am requesting this court to sanction Remington and its counsel for their willful disregard for the integrity of the courts generally and to attempt to defile your court to secure the proposed settlement by use of alleged fraudulent statements," Barber wrote.
Remington and plaintiffs lawyers have not yet responded to Barber's allegations.
The parties have until Jan. 17 to submit any proposed changes to the settlement agreement. Judge Smith has scheduled a hearing Feb. 14 to consider final approval.
Customers interested in taking advantage of the trigger replacement offer can learn more about how to file a claim by visiting a special website run by a third-party claims administrator.
The tentative settlement involves Remington Models 700, Seven, Sportsman 78, 673, 710, 715, 770, 600, 660, XP-100, 721, 722, and 725.\
This report has been updated to reflect that the Public Justice database includes many but not all of Remington's internal documents concerning allegedly defective guns.