The government has sued diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc. for selling material used in bulletproof vests. It’s alleged the company knew the vests were defective. According to the Justice Department’s lawsuit, Honeywell had scientific data showing that the ballistic material, known as Zylon Shield, “degraded quickly over time, especially in hot and humid conditions.” The department says it left the vests unfit for use by law enforcement agencies and military personnel. It was alleged that Honeywell failed to notify the government or the vest manufacturer, Armor Holdings Inc., of the defect. But it was reported by the Associated Press that the U.S. government paid $1.3 million for more than 1,700 vests sold by Armor Holdings that contained Honeywell’s Zylon Shield between 2000 and 2005. The government also paid roughly $20 million more for over 11,000 bulletproof vests made with the Zylon Shield.
The Zylon fabric used in Honeywell’s Zylon Shield was supplied by Japan’s Toyobo Co. Ltd. and its U.S. subsidiary, Toyobo America Inc. Honeywell patented its Zylon Shield and later sold it to Armor Holdings and its subsidiaries according to the complaint. The Justice Department also alleges that Honeywell “discouraged” Armor Holdings from taking any steps to notify buyers about problems with the fiber. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia under the False Claims Act, is part of an ongoing investigation of several vendors who played a role in making the defective bulletproof vests. Several agencies are working together on the probe including the FBI and the Army Criminal Investigative Division.
It should be noted that in October Aerospace supplier Hexcel Corp. agreed to pay $15 million to resolve allegations over its role in making defective vests used by law enforcement agencies. At that time, the federal government alleged that the Stamford, Connecticut-based company knew that the Zylon fiber it used had been defective. That same Zylon had also been supplied by Toyobo and the vests were sold by Second Chance Body Armor, DHB Inc. and its subsidiaries, Armor Holdings and its subsidiaries, and Gator Hawk Armor.
Source: Associated Press
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