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Northrop Grumman to pay $12.5 million to settle whistle-blower suit

June 24, 2010|By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times

Northrop Grumman Corp. has agreed to pay the federal government $12.5 million to settle allegations that it neglected to test certain electronic parts it supplied for navigation systems in military airplanes, helicopters and spacecraft, the U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday.

The settlement stems from a whistle-blower lawsuit filed in May 2006 against the Century City-based defense contractor.

In the suit, Allen Davis, a former quality assurance manager at the company's navigation systems division in Salt Lake City, alleged that Northrop failed to ensure that the electronic parts would function in the extreme temperatures required for military and space uses from November 1998 to February 2007.

Northrop declined to say whether it agreed with the allegations but said it "fully cooperated with the government's investigation…and is pleased that the matter is now behind it."

The Justice Department said a wide range of federal agencies were affected by the allegations, including the Navy, Army, Air Force and NASA.

"The Justice Department will hold responsible those who fail to properly test the parts supplied to our men and women in uniform and others in public service," Tony West, assistant attorney general for the civil division in the Justice Department, said in a statement.

Davis filed the case under the Federal False Claims Act, which allows whistle-blowers to take legal action against federal contractors on behalf of the government. As a result, Davis is set to receive $2.4 million of the settlement.

william.hennigan@latimes.com

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