Class action lawsuit filed against Taser International




Class action lawsuit filed against Taser International

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Taser International, the company that makes the stun guns used by police forces.  The lawsuit alleges the company misled police departments across the country about the safety of its stun guns, instead leaving them with weapons too dangerous to use on the street.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, the lawsuit alleges the weapon has not been adequately tested and was sold to police through faulty marketing information.  Filed on behalf of a Chicago suburb with a population of 35,000, Dolton, Illinois, the lawsuit wants Taser to take the guns back and refund the money, according to the plaintiff’s lawyer. 

The use of the Taser stun guns has been blamed for a growing number of deaths, leaving cities across the country questioning the safety of the products.  The lawsuit is the first known legal action by a city or police department challenging the company’s statements about the science and safety of the stun guns. 

Taser did not respond to specific questions about the lawsuit, but the company’s vice president and general counsel, Doug Klint, issued an e-mail statement denouncing the suit and saying the company stands by the safety of its stun guns.  Klint said the claims made in the lawsuit are based on inaccurate information, saying there are dozens of independent studies conducted by leading medical and law enforcement experts proving Taser’s safety and effectiveness.    

More than 7,000 law enforcement agencies in the U.S. have armed their officers with Tasers.  According to Dolton Mayor and former Illinois state senator, William Shaw, his police department should not have purchased Tasers, referring to the purchase of them as “a mistake”.  Shaw said alongside Police Chief Ronald Burge, they suspended Taser use in May, a few months after paying $8,572 for the weapons after becoming concerned with reports of deaths in other cities. 

While Dolton said the cost of the Taser guns is significant, considering the size of the town, he said it is still a lot cheaper than financial risks because of a wrongful death suit.  Taser has maintained its stun guns have never caused a death or serious injury, but an ongoing investigation by The Arizona Republic has identified 140 deaths in the U.S. and Canada after police Taser shocks since 1999. 

Medical examiners have cited Taser in 17 of those deaths, saying it was the cause of death in three cases and a contributing factor in 10 others.  In four cases, medical examiners did not cite the Taser as cause of death, but the stun gun could not be ruled out as cause of death. 


 

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