TRW was hit with lawsuits Monday by two former executives who alleged that they were fired as scapegoats to divert a federal investigation into the company's charging practices.
Former TRW Vice Presidents Robert L. North and Hugo Poza filed the suits in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging slander, wrongful discharge, breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Each man asked for $20 million in punitive damages and unspecified actual damages.
Arnold Schwartz, an attorney representing North and Poza, said the two men were "sacrificial lambs," fired to protect TRW's $3 billion in government contracts following disclosure of other incidents of TRW overcharging during a period when the firm was being investigated by federal grand juries in two states.
North was an officer of the corporation in his job as general manager of TRW's electronics group. Poza was general manager of TRW's military electronics and avionics division in San Diego.
A TRW spokeswoman said North and Poza "were fired for serious violations of our policies and procedures, and we would expect to contest any lawsuit vigorously."
North and Poza now work for high-technology companies in San Diego.