In February 2009, one Andrew T. Pool filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Evansville, Indiana, claiming that his employer, a defense contractor, had instructed him to approve machine gun parts that were substandard, and had fired him for complaining about it. The components were being tested. The lawsuit claims fraud and wrongful termination and seeks reinstatement along with back pay and damages as yet unspecified.
The company is Northside Machine Co. and it makes trigger assemblies and other parts and supplies them to another defense contractor, FN Manufacturing, based in Columbia, SC., which completes the gun manufacturing. FN Manufacturing is not accused of any fraud or wrongdoing. The guns are M240 and M249 machine guns and they are used by U.S. troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Machine Gun Malfunctioning
The Center for Naval Analysis is a research group that studies military matters, and in 2006 a report they issued stated that the M249 guns had stopped firing during combat. Thirty percent of the troops surveyed had had that problem. This was a higher percentage of malfunction than was reported for any other weapons in this report.
Again, in 2008, problems were reported with this gun in the July battle in Wanat, Afghanistan, where nine of our troops were killed and 27 were wounded.
Yesterday, Northside Machine Co. filed a response stating that it never told Pool to falsify any test results and that Pool had not complained to management about anything before he was fired. Apparently he was fired for another reason. The company has asked the judge to dismiss this suit.
Citing this ongoing litigation, U.S. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings Jr. did not comment on any potential link between these weapon failures and Northside Machine Co. practices. Nor did Pool’s attorney or Northside’s attorneys want to comment. No doubt that will change if this suit does go forward.
Defective products are an ongoing problem and at Long & Long we are experienced in this type of lawsuit. There is a sequence of facts that you must prove to succeed in a product liability lawsuit. This type of lawsuit can be complex and time-consuming. Please see our page on Starting a Product Liability Lawsuit for more information.
If you have been harmed by a defective product and would like to know more about your legal rights and options, we will be happy to schedule a free case review for you. Please call or email our Mobile, Alabama law office today.