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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

US Says Honeywell Lied About Zylon Vests

WASHINGTON (CN) - The United States claims Honeywell submitted false claims for defective "Zylon Shield" bulletproof vests that it sold to Armor Holdings, which resold them to state, tribal and local law enforcement agencies.

The USA claims Honeywell knew the vests deteriorated faster than promised. "In particular, at the time that Honeywell manufactured and sold Z Shield, it possessed a wealth of scientific data showing that Z Shield degraded quickly over time in hot and humid environmental conditions," the federal complaint states. "Honeywell understood that this degradation would negatively impacts the ballistic performance of bullet proof vests containing Z Shield so that over a short period of time these vests would no longer be fit for use as body armor. Indeed, in September 2003, a Honeywell employee had authored a draft report (the Honeywell Draft Report) that explicitly made the connection between degradation and ballistic performance. ... Honeywell, however, did not inform the United States, or any state, local, or tribal authorities, of any of its technical data or the Honeywell Draft Report highlighting the environmental degradation problems with the Z Shield. ... Furthermore, Honeywell downplayed the risks associated with the degradation data that Honeywell did disclose to Armor Holdings even though Honeywell knew that Armor Holdings relied upon it for scientific expertise regarding Z Shield. Moreover, Honeywell discouraged Armor Holdings from taking steps to notify the end users about problems with Z Shield or to mitigate the risk."

The government claims Honeywell continued to do this until August 2005, when "the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) effectively decertified Zylon from use in bullet-proof vests due to this degradation problem. Indeed, even after the NIJ took this action, Honeywell failed to share its technical data with NIJ and encouraged Armor Holdings to attempt to recertify Z Shield Vests so that they could continue to be sold in the United States."

The government demands statutory damages, civil penalties and return of any money it paid for the defective vests.

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