U.S. Sues Company for Marketing Defective Material Used in Bullet-Proof Vests

WASHINGTON – The following is a release by the U.S. Department of Justice in regards to the Zylon Shield, a key material in bullet-proof vests. According to the department, the shields were defective.

The United States sued Honeywell International Inc. June 5 under the False Claims Act in connection with the company’s manufacture and sale of defective Zylon Shield (Z Shield), which Honeywell marketed for use as the key ballistic material in bullet-proof vests, the Justice Department announced.

  The United States alleges that Honeywell possessed scientific data showing that Z Shield degraded quickly over time, especially in hot and humid conditions, and that Honeywell knew that this degradation rendered bullet proof vests containing Z Shield unfit for use.  The government further alleges that, despite this knowledge, Honeywell did not inform the United States or the manufacturer of the vests containing Z Shield, Armor Holdings Inc., of this defect.

“The United States will not tolerate a company withholding key scientific information that places our first-responders at risk unnecessarily,” said Gregory G. 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 United States can make an informed decision on whether or not to buy the product.”

The lawsuit against Honeywell is the result of an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Division; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia; the FBI; the General Services Administration, Office of the Inspector General; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the Army Criminal Investigative Division; the U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of the Inspector General; the Air Force, Office of Special Investigations; the Department of Energy, Office of the Inspector General; and the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General.

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USDOJ June 5, 2008 press release

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