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Honeywell’s Damages Success May Be Hard for Others to Repeat

Bloomberg Law

Honeywell International Inc.'s recent appeals court win—where it evaded damages in the US government’s 12-year body armor fraud suit—may provide a roadmap for other False Claims Act defendants, but the road could be one that is less traveled.


Pro tanto only becomes an issue where there are multiple defendants, and that approach is easier to apply when all defendants are responsible for the same set of government damages, said Jennifer A. Short of Blank Rome LLP, Washington.

“It’s trickier to apply when the multiple defendants are responsible for overlapping, but different sets of government damages,” she said.

The damages calculation in Honeywell—where the government sued for all amounts it paid for defective bullet-proof vests—seems to be fairly straightforward, Short said. And it could be a “risky strategy to let others settle out first, in the hopes that the government will recover its full damages before it gets to you.”

“If most companies want to resolve things quickly, then the one who waits could be left with a disproportionately large share of the calculated damages amount, not to mention the burdens and costs of living with and potentially litigating a drawn-out FCA investigation and lawsuit,” she said.

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"Honeywell’s Damages Success May Be Hard for Others to Repeat," by Daniel Seiden was published in Bloomberg Law on September 2, 2022.