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Boeing to Pay $8.1-Million to Settle False Claims Allegations

Plane-Maker Admits No Liability

Aerospace titan Boeing has agreed to pay $8.1-million to settle federal allegations setting forth the company submitted false claims and made false statements pertaining to the construction of V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft the Arlington, Virginia-based company builds for the U.S. Navy.

The government contended Boeing, during an 11-year period spanning 2007-2018, failed to conduct contractually-mandated monthly tests on autoclaves utilized in the curing of the composite materials integral to the V-22s built at the company’s Ridley Park, Pennsylvania facility.

For the benefit of readers who opted out of or slept through high school chemistry, autoclaves are vessels within which objects and materials are subjected to high temperatures and pressures for purposes such as killing microorganisms and curing composites. Household pressure cookers are autoclave analogues.

Agreed to Wednesday, 27 September 2023, the settlement states Boeing denies allegations it failed to conduct the requisite autoclave tests, and admits no liability. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed, in turn, that the federal government’s claims—though resolved—remain allegations. The parties agreed to the settlement in lieu of lengthy and unflattering litigation.

A Boeing spokesperson reiterated in a statement that the settlement reflected no admission of liability on the company’s part.

The DOJ’s case against the plane-maker was predicated primarily upon reports submitted by ex-Boeing employees formerly tasked with autoclave operations and composites fabrication germane to the V-22 program. Subject workers, in 2016, filed a civil-action under the qui tam (whistleblower) provisions of the False Claims Act. As part of the settlement, the federal government will pay the former Boeing workers upwards of $1.5-million. Boeing, conversely, will pay the workers’ attorneys more than $1.1-million.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and DOJ civil division head Brian Boynton stated: “The government expects contractors to adhere to contractual obligations to which they have agreed and for which they have been paid. Today’s settlement demonstrates our commitment to hold accountable contractors who violate such obligations and undermine the integrity of the government’s procurement process.”

A Boeing spokesperson reiterated the company "entered a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Navy to resolve certain False Claims Act allegations, without admission of liability."

FMI: www.boeing.com

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