Whistleblower Law Blog
Defense Contractor ATK Launch Systems Inc. Agrees to Pay Nearly $37 Million to Settle False Claims Act Lawsuit for Selling Dangerous and Defective Illumination Flares to the Army and Air Force
The Department of Justice has announced that defense contractor ATK Launch Systems Inc., based in Arlington, VA, has agreed to pay $36,967,160 to settle a False Claims Act qui tam lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah by a whistleblower employee, ATK flare program manager Kendall Dye.
According the lawsuit, ATK knowingly delivered defective illuminating para-flares from 2000 to 2006 to the Defense Department. These flares were used extensively by the Air Force and Army in Iraq and Afghanistan for nighttime combat, and covert search and rescue operations. Because flares burn at temperatures in excess of 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit for over five minutes, the government requires that they withstand a 10-foot drop test without exploding or igniting; ATK’s flares failed to meet this requirement. In 2005, Dye learned that ATK had been aware since 2000 that its flares did not meet government standards, but the company continued submitting claims for payment.
David B. Barlow, U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, states:
“This settlement demonstrates our commitment to aggressively go after contractors who recklessly disregard and deliberately ignore critical safety defects in munitions used by America’s uniformed fighting men and women on the front lines of the war on terror.”
As part of the settlement, ATK will pay the U.S. government $21 million in cash, and provide necessary services worth $15,967,160 in order to fix the remaining 76,000 unsafe para-flares.
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