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Taser Talks Tough, Settles Quietly

Posted Aug 2, 2007 3:02 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Taser International Inc. talks a tough game concerning its litigation strategy in cases brought over its controversial stun guns.

"The word has gotten out: Taser doesn't settle,'' said the company's general counsel, Doug Klint, in an April interview with Bloomberg. "Anyone who sues us is in for a fight.''

But as he and other executives have publicly proclaimed victory, saying that the company has won or obtained dismissals in the last 52 product liability suits brought over alleged injuries from Tasers, a different story can be found behind the scenes, reports Bloomberg.

The Scottsdale, Ariz., company has settled at least 10 of these 52 cases, or nearly 20 percent, and, when pushed for an explanation of the discrepancy between this fact and earlier comments by executives, Klint conceded that this was probably an accurate number and indicated that settlements could also be counted as victories for Taser, according to Bloomberg.

Setting for $10,000, for instance, is a "win," Klint says, when the company would otherwise have to pay $250,000 to litigate the case. "The big concern with our investors is we're smart in terms of the way we handle our litigation." Apparently for that reason, Taser doesn't identify such cases as settlements in SEC filings, instead describing them as "dismissed with prejudice."

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