28 June 2007 18:37 [Source: ICIS news]
A spokesman for the
In a civil suit filed in the US District Court for the
The polymer, under Toyobo brand Zylon, was used in the manufacture of as many as 50,000 body armour vests sold to federal, state and local police agencies from 1999 through 2005.
According to the department, defects in Toyobo’s fibres resulted in the death of one police officer and the wounding of another before the defects were discovered and the vests were withdrawn from service nationwide.
Toyobo, said the department, “never had control of its manufacturing process, was manufacturing Zylon with serious defects that resulted in lower fibre strength and knew that Zylon degraded much faster than was disclosed”.
The suit against Toyobo was filed under the US False Claims Act, which allows a court to award treble damages and cash penalties. If found guilty, Toyobo could be facing damages of $135m and an unknown amount in court-assigned penalties. The suit is similar to one filed by the department against Toyobo in September 2005; that suit is still pending.
Toyobo spokesman Kent Jarrell denied the department’s allegations, saying that Toyobo conducted regular ageing tests on Zylon and reported results to body armour manufacturers on a regular basis, asking them to take the data into consideration in design and production of vests and to test their products.
No court date has been set for the case.
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