ILNews

Defense firm appeals $277M verdict for Humvee maker

Dave Stafford
October 21, 2013
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A defense contractor is appealing an Indiana judge’s order that it pay $277 million to the Mishawaka-based manufacturer of Army Humvee military vehicles. The contractor overcharged for armor kits to retrofit the vehicles during the bloodiest days of the Iraq war, the judge ruled.

United Kingdom-based BAE Systems Inc. and its subsidiary firms last month filed notice with the Indiana Court of Appeals that it would appeal rulings by now-retired St. Joseph Superior Judge Michael P. Scopelitis, who awarded damages to AM General LLC.

Attorneys from Washington, D.C.-based Covington & Burling LLP, an American Lawyer A-List firm, last week applied for temporary admission to represent BAE. No attorneys have appeared on the appellate docket for AM General, which had its own high-powered Washington counsel in the trial court from the firm of Williams & Connolly.

Scopelitis in April issued a series of rulings including a 194-page order that BAE Systems pay AM General judgments totaling $277,939,519 for breach of contract and violations of most-favored customer clauses. 

The notice of appeal indicates it follows denial of a motion to correct error in the trial court. No further proceedings have been scheduled in the case and the trial court transcript has not yet been completed, according to case filings.

Scopelitis’ findings painted a picture of rampant overcharges from BAE and its predecessor companies that AM General passed on to the Army, even as AM General sought to determine true costs. Armor Holdings, which developed the retrofit armor kits, was purchased by BAE, and Armor Holdings’ executives received multi-million-dollar payments and retention bonuses, Scopelitis noted.

But Scopelitis wrote that “BAE was concerned … that disclosing its costs data would reveal excessive profits,” including markups on armor kits of 36 to more than 44 percent, well above the 5 percent to 15 percent profit the Army typically deems reasonable for tank and vehicle purchases.

BAE noted its intent to appeal after the ruling and disagreed with the findings in what it called an “extremely complex contract dispute.”

“BAE Systems is firmly committed to the principles of fair contracting and providing both value and performance in support of its many government and commercial customers,” the company said after Scopelitis’ ruling.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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