ATK Defective Flares Sold to U.S. Military

Result: $37 million settlement
Year: 2012

United States ex rel Dye v. ATK Launch Systems, Inc. Whistleblower Case

Lieff Cabraser served as co-counsel for a whistleblower who alleged that ATK Launch Systems knowingly sold defective and potentially dangerous illumination flares to the United States military in violation of the federal False Claims Act. The specialized flares were used in nighttime combat, covert missions, and search and rescue operations. A key design specification set by the Defense Department was that these highly flammable and dangerous items ignite only under certain conditions.

The complaint alleged that the ATK flares at issue could ignite when dropped from a height of less than 10 feet – and, according to ATK’s own analysis, from as little as 11.6 inches – notwithstanding contractual specifications that they be capable of withstanding such a drop. In April 2012, the parties reached a settlement valued at $37 million.

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