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CALIFORNIA / News and Insight on Business in the Golden
State | THE STATE / ENERGY

Rockwell Loses Bid to Slow Whistle-Blower Suit

April 28, 1998|Bloomberg News

Rockwell International lost a U.S. Supreme Court bid to prevent the federal government from taking part in a whistle-blower suit that charges the company with wrongdoing at a Colorado nuclear weapons plant. The Costa Mesa-based electronics maker argued unsuccessfully that the Justice Department promised to not join the suit in 1992 when it reached an $18.5-million plea bargain with Rockwell. That agreement resolved criminal environmental charges over Rockwell's operation of its Rocky Flats plant. The high court, without opinion, rejected Rockwell's appeal. The decision means the government can throw its weight behind the civil suit, which seeks damages of several hundred million dollars from Rockwell's alleged overbilling of the Department of Energy. Trial is set to begin July 6. Former Rockwell engineer James Stone filed the Rocky Flats suit in a federal court in Colorado in 1989. The Justice Department originally opted to not take over the case, then changed its mind in 1995. Rockwell charged that switch violated the 1992 plea bargain.

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