Honeywell settles 14-year legal battle with government over bulletproof vests
Honeywell Aerospace has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Commerce, agreeing to pay a $20 million penalty and to take the steps it had planned to take with government regulators, including the proposed cancellation of all contracts it had with the agency until the settlement.
The settlement is a victory for Honeywell Aerospace’s leadership and the company’s customers, but it is also a major victory for the government, which has been on both sides of this litigation for more than five years and spent more than $100 million. The company and its customers took more than a decade to recover from the 2008 decision of an administrative law judge, which found Honeywell had violated the Defense Production Act. In that decision, the government accused Honeywell of improperly bidding on contracts without notifying the government about its plans, of failing to maintain records to prove it had completed its business plan and, last but not least, of failing to submit the proper paperwork for its defense contract. The judge in that case also found that Honeywell had not proven any of the government’s allegations, and he ordered the company to pay a penalty. In March 2015, a Federal Appeals Court affirmed the judge’s decision, but the government appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the court agreed in June 2015 to hear the case.
Honeywell and its customers have been fighting the government’s case for so long that one of the key elements of the government’s case, Honeywell’s failure to show any cost savings, had become the crux of the argument the company wanted the Supreme Court to hear. Because of this, Honeywell had sought to have the company’s contracts canceled, and the company wanted to keep all its defense contracts at full speed while it worked to prove that it had saved the government millions of dollars. The company also wanted the government to pay all of the costs it had spent on the company’s case, plus two million dollars in attorneys fees. The two sides reached a settlement in November 2015 that eliminated all risk to Honeywell, and left its defense contracts in place.
The settlement, which took effect today, is expected to save Honeywell millions of dollars and provides a major win for Honeywell Aerospace customers, the government and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the