A Mississippi man has filed a proposed class action lawsuit this week against firearm manufacturer Browning Arms Company over claims that the Dura-Touch Armor Coating applied to many of its guns degrades after only a few years of use.
According to the suit, the plaintiff owns two Browning Silver shotguns and two Browning Maxus shotguns that have stocks coated in Dura-Touch. He says that in the fall of 2015, he noticed the coating on his guns was starting to feel sticky, which made the guns uncomfortable to hold and difficult to use. When he called his local Browning dealer about the issue, an employee allegedly responded, “Let me guess, they’re sticky, right?”
A Sticky Situation: Suit Claims Dura-Touch Coating Is Defective
According to Browning, Dura-Touch Armor Coating is “a unique stock treatment specifically designed to improve the grip and overall feel of a rifle or shotgun while protecting the stock with an armor-like finish.” The defendant allegedly markets its firearms coated with Dura-Touch as “extremely durable” and claims they can be used “in all weather conditions and temperature ranges.”
Sounds like an attractive deal to the hunters who buy Browning’s products. But the lawsuit claims these promises don’t last and that the Dura-Touch products don’t live up to their marketing and advertising claims. The suit alleges firearm owners like the plaintiff, who hunts “a variety of fowl” in Mississippi, find after a few years that the Dura-Touch coating begins to degrade to the point that the guns can no longer be used as intended.
Even worse, the case claims Browning knows about the alleged defect and continues to market and sell its products to blissfully ignorant consumers, who remain unaware of the problem until after their warranties have expired. From the complaint:
“Defendant had exclusive knowledge of the defective nature of the Dura-Touch Coating at the time of sale. The defect is latent and not something that [the plaintiff or proposed class members], in the exercise of reasonable diligence, could have discovered independently prior to purchase.”
According to the complaint, the current Browning catalog contains at least 25 firearms coated with Dura-Touch, “including shotguns in its Maxus, A5, Silver, BPS, Gold lines as well as Rifles in its X-Bolt line.” Consumers allegedly continue to buy these firearms only to discover down the line that they don’t live up to the advertisements.
The plaintiff says if he had known the truth about Dura-Touch he would never have purchased the defendant’s products, or would have paid less for them.
Because the alleged defect is latent and only appears after years of use, owners of Dura-Touch firearms are left without options, the suit says.
The plaintiff claims he shipped one of his shotguns to Browning in the fall of 2016, yet “Browning has neither repaired nor returned his firearm.”
The complaint illustrates a similarly bleak – and expensive – outlook for proposed class members:
“In order to remove the Dura-Touch Coating, Plaintiff and other members of the [proposed class] will have to either pay another company to strip the Dura-Touch Coating from the firearm and ‘re-dip’ those parts in another coating, or to purchase replacement parts for their Browning Shotguns at significant cost to Plaintiff and [proposed class] members.”
The lawsuit seeks to repay these damages and force Browning to stop selling its allegedly defective product.
Who Does the Suit Hope to Cover?
The lawsuit seeks to bring relief to a proposed class of consumers in the United States who have purchased any Browning firearm containing Dura-Touch Coating between January 1, 2007 and August 8, 2017.