Suit Claims Defects in Protective Vests

8-12-04 - FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (AP) A top maker of police body armor says lawsuits filed against it by Texas and six other states are baseless. Texas filed suit yesterday against Michigan-based Second Chance Body Armor.

The lawsuit alleges the company failed to disclose that the protection of its lighter weight vests degrades with exposure and endangers police officers.

It was filed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. It accuses the Michigan-based company of failing to disclose that the quality of its lighter-weight vests degrades with exposure to fluorescent light, heat and humidity.

The Attorney General’s investigation found that more than 5,000 of the vests made of a material called Zylon have been sold in Texas since about 1998.

Abbott says the lawsuit seeks restitution for police departments and other consumers who bought the 800 dollar vests.

The lawsuit also seeks civil penalties of up to 20,000 dollars per violation of the act, attorney fees and investigative costs. Spokesman for Second Chance, Gregg Smith says lawsuits from the seven states are baseless.