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Federal judge dismisses whistleblower suit against Rolls-Royce

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A federal judge in Indianapolis has dismissed a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former Rolls-Royce Corp. engineer who accused the company of selling faulty aircraft engine parts to the government.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker on Monday sided with London-based Rolls-Royce, which employs about 4,500 people in Indianapolis, on its motion to dismiss the case.

Curtis Lusby, who worked as a senior project engineer at the Indianapolis Rolls-Royce aircraft engine plant until 2001, accused the company of violating the False Claims Act by selling parts to the government that it knew did not regularly meet contractual specifications and requirements.

The parts were used in the T56 turboprop engine developed in the 1950s, one of the longest-serving engines in the military’s fleet.

Barker said in her ruling that Lusby failed to prove the accusations because he provided no evidence that Rolls-Royce ever sold a defective part to the government.

“At this late stage in this litigation, mere assumptions and speculation are insufficient to carry the day,” Barker wrote. “In the oft-used phrase, summary judgment is the ‘put up or shut up’ moment in a lawsuit.”

Lusby instead argued that Rolls-Royce should bear the burden of proof that it had not violated the law because it was responsible for the flaws.

But Barker said Lusby was unable to provide previous cases to support his argument.

In a prepared statement, Rolls-Royce said it is pleased with the ruling, which confirms that Lusby’s claims had no merit.

The case had been winding its way through the federal court system for years. Lusby first sued Rolls-Royce in May 2003. After two of his lawyers withdrew from the case at different times, he filed amended complaints in 2006 and 2007.

U.S. District Court in Indianapolis dismissed his complaint. But the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in June 2009 reversed part of the judgment, returning it to the federal court in Indianapolis.

Rolls-Royce still faces a similar lawsuit in the same court filed by a former safety official charging that the company concealed repeated defects at the aircraft engine plant.

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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