The suit, which was originally filed in 2009 by Leo Danilides, was
unsealed in federal district court in Chicago on Thursday. The U.S.
Justice Department said in a separate filing it was not joining in
The suit was filed under the False Claims Act, which lets people
collect rewards for blowing the whistle on fraud against the
Northrop spokesman Randy Belote said the company typically did not
comment on litigation matters.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security contract involved an effort
called the Counter-MANPADS program, designed to protect civilian
airliners after an unsuccessful shoulder-fired missile attack
against an Israeli airplane taking off from Mombasa, Kenya, in 2002.
Northrop received a contract in 2006 to provide improvements for
work it had done in two earlier phases of the project "and "create a
commercially feasible system," according to the lawsuit. It said the
plaintiff, Danilides, had worked on the program "for many years."
The suit alleged that during the Phase III part of the project, for
which it said the company was paid $62 million, "Northrop pretended
to be exerting its best efforts when it was doing virtually nothing
to improve the design and reliability of the Counter-MANPADS
[to top of second column]
"Northrop failed to perform critical tasks, and then profited by
keeping the money that was supposed to have been spent doing that
work," according to the allegations.
"Far from providing its 'best efforts' as required, Northrop was
providing no efforts," the suit alleged.
The contract ended in 2008 and government funding for the project
was later canceled.
(Reporting by Peter Cooney; editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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