Thursday, September 19, 2002

What's the Buzz?

Whistleblower lawsuit settled for $6.2 million

        The Justice Department on Wednesday announced a $6.2 million settlement of a whistleblower's lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati against several defense contractors.

        The suit was brought in 1997 by Rayond “Rudy” Anderson, a former quality test technician at the Johnson City, N.Y., Control Systems plant once owned by General Electric Co. and sold in 2000 by Lockheed Martin Corp. to a unit of British Aerospace plc.

        Mr. Anderson's suit, subsequently joined by the Justice Department, alleged that devices made at the plant to control electrical magnetic interference on flight computers of the Navy's F/A-18 Hornet Fighters didn't comply with Navy or the company's specifications. Failure to shield the interference could cause uncontrolled rudder failure on the Hornets.

        James B. Helmer, Mr. Anderson's attorney, said units made after 1994 were within specifications. A “field fix” was developed for the units made before that date.

        For bringing the problem to light Mr. Anderson, who now lives in Florida, was awarded $1.2 million of the settlement under the Civil War-era False Claims Act.

— Mike Boyer

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