The State of New Jersey filed a lawsuit against Sig Sauer, Inc. (“Sig”) in New Jersey Superior Court in Mercer County on April 27, 2017. The complaint, a copy of which can be read here, alleges that the New Jersey State Police (“NJSP”) selected the Sig P229 as its duty weapon in 2014. The complaint alleges that when first used during a firearms qualification session in September 2014, the P229 had a “serious malfunction” and “[m]any of the P229s sporadically exhibited a failure to extract” (“FTE”). The complaint further claims that a “FTE malfunction renders a gun unfit for police use because a Trooper may be unable to fire more than one round of ammunition in a life-threatening situation.” The NJSP claims that it immediately notified Sig, which variously diagnosed the FTE malfunctions as being caused by different components of the pistols (extractor, extractor spring, issue with a factory mold, barrel and “misapplication of the coating on the barrels”), but despite attempted fixes the FTE malfunctions continued to occur.
Over a period of more than a year, it is alleged that Sig came up with various solutions, but none of them corrected the FTE malfunctions. Representatives of Sig allegedly met with the NJSP near the end of January 2016 to test a sample of the P229 pistols. The complaint alleges that the sample of P229 pistols selected for testing exhibited FTE malfunctions with both qualification and duty ammunition. After Sig had been unable to correct the FTE malfunctions for more than a year, the NJSP returned the P229 pistols to Sig and replaced them with the Glock 19 Gen4, with which all its troopers have successfully qualified. In its complaint, the NJSP has alleged causes of action against Sig for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and breach of warranty. The NJSP is seeking to recover more than $2.5 million in monetary damages from Sig, including a refund of the $1,657,000 that it paid for the P229 pistols, compensation for the $856,680.21 that it spent on holsters, as well the costs for the ammunition, and time spent by Troopers and other officials addressing the unresolved FTE malfunctions.
Renzulli Law Firm, LLP is monitoring this lawsuit and will report on material developments.