Friday, September 29, 2023
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No Stay in Honeywell|False Claims Case

WASHINGTON (CN) - A federal judge denied the government's motion to stay discovery in its false claims suit against Honeywell International pending the outcomes of related cases.

Beginning in 2004, the federal government brought claims under the False Claims Act against makers and retailers of bulletproof vests containing some form of Zylon.

In its case against Honeywell, the government moved to stay discovery pending resolution of partial summary judgment cross motions in two related cases, but U.S. Chief Judge Richard Roberts shot down the request.

"The government has not met its burden of demonstrating how resolution of the pending motions for summary judgment in the related cases will foster efficiency or conserve resources for the parties and the court in this case," he writes in his ruling.

He adds that, "the government has made no showing that the benefits of a discovery stay would outweigh the prejudice to Honeywell in preparing its defense."

The United States claimed Honeywell submitted false claims for defective "Z shield" bulletproof vests that it sold to Armor Holdings, which in turn resold the vests to state and local law enforcement agencies. The government accused Honeywell of knowing that the body armor deteriorated faster than promised, but sold it anyway until 2005 when the National Institute of Justice decertified Zylon for use in bulletproof vests.

Zylon is the trademarked name for the synthetic polymer material developed by SRI International. According to the Toyobo Corporation, which currently manufactures Zylon, it's 1.6 times stronger than Kevlar.

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