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Friday, April 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Grenade Makers Can’t Toss False-Billing Claim

(CN) - The United States can sue grenade manufacturers whose rushed production schedule allegedly caused them to sell defective grenades that detonated prematurely or not at all, a federal judge ruled.

"The allegations in the complaint are sufficient to allege that each defendant knowingly participated in a scheme to prove substandard grenades to the United States Armed Forces," U.S. District Judge Steve Merryday wrote.

John King filed the original whistle-blower complaint under the False Claims Act against DSE Inc. and its subcontractors, Kaman Precision Products, GTI Systems and JKS Industries, which make different parts of the grenades.

King claimed DSE fired him from the position of quality-assurance manager because he refused to certify the quality of the defective grenades when DSE skipped quality-control procedures to meet production deadlines.

The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that King could not attest to the years of false billing he claimed since his work at DSE lasted just a few months.

Judge Merryday, however, found that King does not need specific knowledge about the "manner and timing" of the manufacturers' billings to have knowledge of alleged wrongdoings.

"The relator's detailed 88-page amended complaint undoubtedly has alerted the defendants to the pertinent acts and omissions," Merryday wrote.

DSE's subcontractors also claimed that King could not know anything about their quality-control process since he did not work for them as a DSE employee.

Merryday disagreed, saying that, although King did not see each individual part the subcontractors made, he did inspect the final product.

DSE also tried to dismiss King's claim for wrongful termination, but Merryday left that in tact as it is supported by the surviving False Claims Act allegations.

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