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Court Orders Review of Northrop Case

June 24, 1997|(Bloomberg News)

The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision to let a case involving a former Northrop Grumman Corp. employee's whistle-blower suit against the company proceed. The action comes a week after the Supreme Court overturned another 9th Circuit decision in a similar case involving General Motors Corp.'s Hughes Electronics subsidiary. Both disputes involve questions about 1986 amendments to a federal law that lets corporate whistle-blowers collect large rewards for exposing fraud by government contractors. In the Hughes case, the high court unanimously ruled that the 1986 changes--which made it easier to file cases under the whistle-blower law--don't apply retroactively. In Northrop's case, former employee Michael Hyatt sued the Los Angeles company in October 1986, about three weeks before the easier rules went into effect. In a separate development, the House of Representatives narrowly rejected an amendment that would have removed $331.2 million from its defense-budget bill to start production of nine additional Northrop B-2 bombers.

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