Armor Holdings Products, LLC (AHP) and the United States, acting through the Department of Justice (DOJ), have agreed to resolve allegations raised by DOJ regarding AHP's sales of Zylon-containing bullet-resistant vests between 2000 and 2005.
AHP denies all of DOJ's allegations of wrongdoing, and maintains that it always has acted responsibly and with the utmost concern for police officer safety. Promptly after learning of concerns about the potential impact of environmental effects on Zylon material supplied to AHP, AHP issued various product storage and use & care advisories to its customers about such concerns.
And over the past several years, AHP has replaced more than 50,000 Zylon-containing vests under AHP's Zylon vest exchange program. Nonetheless, in order to avoid the significant expense and inevitable uncertainty of litigation, AHP has agreed to pay $30 million to the United States to fully resolve all concerns identified by DOJ with respect to AHP's sales of Zylon-containing vests.
Over the past several years, DOJ has been conducting a broad review of the entire body armor industry regarding the suitability of Zylon – a ballistic material developed by Toyobo, a Japanese company – for use in bullet-resistant vests sold to law enforcement agencies. AHP has fully cooperated with DOJ throughout its review. To date, DOJ has filed several lawsuits against other manufacturers and suppliers alleging violations of law, breach of contract and warranty, and related claims as a result of its review. DOJ has not filed any lawsuit against AHP.
Scott O'Brien, president of AHP, stated, "We stand behind the quality guarantees for our body armor products, and have and will continue to take appropriate action when their quality does not meet our own very high standards. We take seriously the safety of the men and women who count on our products to save their lives, and always will do the right thing for our customers. None of our vests have ever failed to stop a bullet that it was designed to stop, and we are extremely proud of that record."
"We are pleased to have reached a conclusion in this matter and resolved the government's concerns without resort to expensive and distracting litigation," added Ian Graham, Vice President and General Counsel for AHP. "Previously, AHP had conducted its own internal review of the Zylon issues, and we acted promptly and conscientiously to protect our customers long before DOJ launched its inquiry. While we vigorously deny the government's allegations, we felt that it was important to put this Zylon matter behind us."
Well before the start of DOJ's Zylon review, AHP took numerous actions on its own to address potential environmental effects on Zylon material, including comprehensive reviews of information and testing concerning the suitability of Zylon from its suppliers, and warning its customers about the concerns raised. AHP also pro-actively launched the industry-leading VestCheck used vest testing program, and implemented a Zylon vest exchange program offering replacements or refunds to purchasers of AHP's Zylon-containing vests.