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Thursday 21 August 2014

Rolls-Royce to fight quality claims

Published 05/07/2013 | 09:27

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Rolls-Royce is denying claims it lied to customers

Engines giant Rolls-Royce said it will fight claims made by former staff in a US lawsuit that it "cut corners" on quality standards and "lied to" customers.

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A lawsuit filed by two former quality control officers at its US aerospace arm alleges that the firm "routinely used defective parts designated as 'scrap only'" and concealed internal records of faults in thousands of engines it sold to clients, including the US Department of Defense, according to reports in the Financial Times and the Daily Telegraph.

The company denied the claims and vowed to "defend itself vigorously", adding that two of the four claims had already been thrown out.

A spokeswoman said: "Any and all facts of the case will be presented in court, where we are confident it will be found the lawsuit is without merit."

The lawsuit was filed in the district court for the Southern District of Indiana and is the latest in a long-running dispute brought by Thomas McArtor, a senior quality control officer from 2003 to 2006 at Rolls-Royce Corp's Indianapolis plant. He was joined in 2011 by a second former employee, Keith Ramsey.

Rolls-Royce's quality standards are in the spotlight following its recent admission that it "clearly fell short" of the highest standards following the dramatic disintegration of one of its engines on board the world's largest passenger plane.

A final report by Australian investigators into the November 2010 incident aboard a Qantas Airbus A380 superjumbo with 440 passengers aboard said the engine explosion was caused by a poorly-built oil pipe that failed to conform to design specifications. The pilots managed to land the plane safely and no one was hurt, but the incident led to the temporary grounding of 20 superjumbos with Trent 900 engines.

The claim alleges Rolls-Royce "cut corners on quality control requirements" and "lied to" customers about quality control procedures.

Mr Ramsey alleges he was dismissed for "refusing to cooperate" in Rolls-Royce Corp's "knowing deviations from its quality-control plan". Mr McArtor claims he was dismissed after disclosing a 2003/06 major quality failure log to the US Federal Aviation Authority.

The pair claim the British company collated thousands of alleged defects in a "secret set of books". The two are challenging a court order which prevents them releasing information that they argue reveals details of what the company concealed.

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