05 June 2008 22:57 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON DC (ICIS news)--The US Department of Justice (DOJ) sued on Thursday Honeywell International, alleging that the company deceived the government by knowingly selling faulty materials for use in bullet-proof vests by US troops and emergency-response agencies.
The department filed the suit under the False Claims Act, contending that Honeywell provided Zylon Shield (Z-Shield) material that degrades quickly over time - even more so in hot and humid environments - despite evidence of these defects to Armor Holdings, which assembled the bullet-proof vests for the US Department of Defense.
"The United States will not tolerate a company withholding key scientific information that places our first responders at risk unnecessarily," said Gregory Katsas, the acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division.
"The Justice Department will take the steps needed to ensure that a company providing a potentially life-saving product discloses any known defects so that the US can make an informed decision on whether or not to buy the product," Katsas said.
Honeywell counters that the lawsuit is not valid, said Peter Dalpe, a spokesman for Honeywell Specialty Materials.
"We believe there is no factual or legal basis for the Justice Department's case against Honeywell, and we intend to vigorously defend against these claims," Dalpe said. "We did not manufacture the fibre which was the cause for the DOJ's initial investigation in this matter and did not manufacture the vests that were sold to the government.
"We are aware of no instances where any vest containing Z-Shield technology failed during use in the field, and, in fact, vests containing Z-Shield have saved many lives. We are confident in the quality and performance of all our products and technology," he said.
Honeywell carefully monitors and tests the quality and performance all materials, including Z-Shield, to ensure they provided a high level of protection to military personnel and law-enforcement officers, Dalpe said.
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