Company Paying $1 Million for Role in Defective Bulletproof Vests
Barrday Inc. and two related companies have agreed to pay the United States more than $1 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act in connection with their role in the weaving of Zylon fabric used in the manufacture and sale of defective Zylon bulletproof vests, the Justice Department announced. Barrday, headquartered in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, is a weaver of ballistic fabrics and designs and produces specialty industrial textiles.
The federal government alleged Barrday's woven Zylon fabric was used in the manufacture of bulletproof vests sold by Second Chance Body Armor Inc., Point Blank Body Armor Inc. and Gator Hawk Armor Inc. These vests were purchased by the federal government and by various state, local, and/or tribal law enforcement agencies that were partially reimbursed by a Justice Department program. The government alleged the Zylon in these vests lost its ballistic capability quickly, especially when exposed to heat and humidity.
Barrday was reportedly aware of the defective nature of the Zylon by at least December 2001 but continued to sell Zylon for use in ballistic armor until approximately 2003, when two police officers were shot through their Second Chance Zylon vests. In 2003, Barrday was the first weaver to permanently withdraw from the Zylon market. "When a supplier of a component part distributes its product with knowledge of latent defects, that company violates the False Claims Act," said Michael F. Hertz, the acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Division. "This settlement will help ensure that component suppliers are held responsible for materials that put our first-responders at risk."
The settlement is part of a larger investigation of the body armor industry’s use of Zylon in body armor. As part of the agreement, Barrday has pledged its cooperation in the government’s investigation. Previous settlements with four other participants in the Zylon body armor industry totaled more than $46 million. Additionally, the government has pending lawsuits against Toyobo Co., Honeywell Inc., Second Chance Body Armor Inc. and four former Second Chance executives.