Honeywell is also known as Honeywell International Inc. It is a multinational conglomerate business that operates within four industries. The corporation deals with performance materials and technologies, building technologies, aerospace, and safety and productivity solutions. Honeywell’s headquarters is in Charlotte, North Carolina. The company is well-known throughout the world, but it has had its share of legal troubles. Honeywell has been named in numerous lawsuits that resulted in billions of dollars in settlements. Some of the claims were filed against Honeywell directly and others were aimed at its subsidiary companies. Here are the ten biggest Honeywell lawsuits in company history.
10. Honeywell settles with Investors regarding accusations of understating asbestos claims Settlement amount: $10 million
Top Class Actions reports that investors claimed that Honeywell understated asbestos-related liabilities. The investors filed a class-action lawsuit in a federal court in New Jersey. Plaintiffs claimed that Honeywell misrepresented its liabilities which affected the financial health of its investors when it acquired a company called Bendix Friction Materials. The company manufactures automobile brakes, some of which were manufactured with asbestos. The use of the materials resulted in numerous claims of physical harm from exposure to the materials. Honeywell declined to disclose the full extent of its asbestos-related liabilities of the company, acquired in 1999. The claims were filed in 2018. Honeywell agreed to resolve the lawsuit with a settlement proposal of $10 million, which was agreed upon by the plaintiffs.
9. Honeywell was accused of export violations by the US Department of State Settlement amount: $13 million
The US Department of State reports that Honeywell International was accused of committing export violations. Allegations that Honeywell made unauthorized exports and retransfers of technical data with engineering prints showing detailed information about castings and finished parts for several gas turbine engines, aircraft, and military electronics within Taiwan, China, Mexico, and Ireland resulted in a thorough investigation into the claims. Honeywell reached a settlement with the Department of State to resolve the issues with a $13 million penalty and a 36-month consent agreement to strengthen its compliance. Honeywell agreed to obtain authorization for such exports in the future.
8. Honeywell Penalized in Ramseyer, et al v. Honeywell International, et al case Penalty amount: $14 million
Honeywell International Inc was accused of employment-related offenses in 2005. The plaintiffs alleged that Honeywell committed benefit plan administrator violations with a second offense of pension ERISA violation. The lawsuit was filed in private civil litigation in a federal court in the District of New Jersey. Plaintiffs claimed that Honeywell International administrators breached their fiduciary duties to employees participating in the Honeywell Savings and Ownership Plan. The company is accused to have made false and misleading statements and failing to fully disclose information about Honeywell’s financial performance. They further failed to diversify the assets of the Savings Plan and monitor the wisdom of Honeywell stock as a Savings Plan investment. Defendants in the lawsuit included Honeywell along with former and current directors and officers. Honeywell settled the complaints with an agreement to pay $14 million in damages to compensate members who were financially harmed through the breaches committed by Honeywell directors and officers. The settlement was reached on July 20, 2005, compensating those who were misled by a lack of accurate information.
7. Honeywell Inc penalized for labor relations violations Penalty amount: $17.6 million
In 2002, Honeywell Inc was accused of labor relations violations involving an unfair labor practices case. A civil suit was filed in a federal court in Stratford, Connecticut, alleging financial damages to workers not reimbursed for unfair labor practices back pay they were eligible to receive under the law. Honeywell Inc succeeded Allied Signal, the former name of the company. The case was investigated by the National Relations Board. Honeywell agreed to a settlement of $17.6 million to resolve the complaints and ensure that back pay was awarded to the plaintiffs in the unfair labor practices case. The settlement agreement was approved by the courts on October 1, 2002
6. Honeywell accused of ERISA violations Settlement amount: $23.8 million
Honeywell Retirement Earnings Plan was accused of ERISA violations in 2012. a lawsuit was filed in a District of Arizona federal court in the private civil litigation called Allen, et al v. Honeywell Retirement Earnings Plan, et al. Honeywell was accused of two offenses by members of the retirement earnings plan who suffered financial harm as a result of Honeywell’s actions. The primary offense was benefit plan administrator violation with a second offense of pension ERISA violation. Honeywell agreed to a settlement of $23.8 million to resolve the complaints lodged against its Retirement Earnings Plan for neglect of its fiduciary duties. The case was settled on July 23, 2012, with all parties agreeing to the terms of the settlement of $123.8 million to ensure that all parties affected received compensation for their financial loss.
5. Honeywell settles in saltwater marsh chemical cleanup Settlement amount: $29 million
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that Honeywell International Inc. and Georgia Power Company participated in industrial operations at the LCP Chemicals Superfund Site with the operation of an electric power generation facility, a petroleum refinery, and mercury cell chloro-alkali plant that caused massive contamination of the soil, the surface water, groundwater, and sediment with mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls and other substances that are hazardous to humans. The companies agreed to a $29 million settlement in 1994 that includes cleanup of the site with demolition of buildings contaminated, excavating, and dredging of 13 acres of marshland to remove the soil that was contaminated along with waste from the upper part of the areas. The EPA has yet to address the groundwater contamination, but the current focus is on cleaning up the tidal march and creeks. The companies must dredge the creeks and insert a layer of clean sediment on an 11-acre area in the marsh to restore the areas to a clean and natural state with protective caps on parts of the tidal creeks. Future actions will commence when the first phases of the cleanup are completed. Honeywell and Georgia Power are also required to monitor the long-term effectiveness of the cleanup remedies they applied to reduce risks to the environment and human health throughout its duration. It will be an ongoing process.
4. Honeywell settles but is in the hot seat for more claims for body armor suit fraud Settlement amount: $36 million with more pending
Honeywell was involved in a lawsuit over armor fraud that has been waged for thirteen years. Honeywell and other co-defendants paid the government $36 million to resolve allegations of fraud that began in 2008. The government ruled that Honeywell did not reveal test data to Armor Holdings about its Z Shiueld bulletproof vests. The vests degraded under humidity and high heat. Lack of disclosure about the degradation potential resulted in the Armor Holdings company making false claims for payment to the US government. Multiple defendants were involved in the court filings. Honeywell’s defense seeks relief through a court of appeals to reduce its liability to zero in an ongoing case that could cost Honeywell an additional $34.4 million in addition to what it has already paid. Initial proceedings are moving ahead in a Washington DC District Court with the most recent hearing on the matter held in March of 2022. Honeywell is asking the court for credit for penalties it has already paid to the government. It’s possible for each company named in the legal action to be held responsible for up to three times the damages. US Attorneys argue that if Honeywell does not have to pay damages, the strength and protection of the False Claims Act would be undermined.
3. Honeywell International False Claims Suit Lawsuit amount: $45 million
Berger Montague reports that Honeywell allegedly engaged in intentional miscalculations that made it appear that it met energy-saving provisions in a US Army contract. The actions fall under the category of False Claims Act violations. A US Army Alaska engineer claimed that Honeywell doctored data to comply with demands of an energy-efficient lighting system at two Alaska Army bases when revamping old central heating and a power plant system. They converted it to a system using natural gas and electricity. Honeywell was contractually bound to document energy costs before conversion for comparing energy usage. If the data did not show an economic benefit, Honeywell would not get paid, under the agreement. The suit filed by the US Army seeks a settlement amount of $45 million in the Thomas Berg et al. v. Honeywell International, Inc et al. case. An investigation by the US Army Audit Agency discovered that Honeywell inaccurately calculated the figures submitted for maintenance, operation, and cost savings. In this case, a US District Court dismissed the case. A Ninth Circuit judge reversed the dismissal and sent the litigation to the trial court. It was a situation where the Honeywell defense did their job and got the case dropped, but it got picked up again as the US Army wasn’t ready to call it quits on the charges of False Claims Act violations.
2. Honeywell settles EPA-driven pollution case Lawsuit amount: $64 million
Environmental Leader confirms that Honeywell got named along with 3M, and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in an EPA driven lawsuit. Plaintiffs alleged that all companies were involved in the operation of a plastics manufacturing company that conducted its business near the water plant that supplied the town. In the late part of 2015, tests revealed that pollution was present. PFOA chemical contamination turned up in Hoosick Falls, New York’s water. Investigations into the claims revealed that approximately 1,800 property owners were affected by the contamination. The case spurred a flurry of legal actions. $23 million is designated to enhance monitoring and medical treatment for residents impacted by the pollution. The EPA is accelerating the chemical pollution cleanup. The federal agency holds those who contributed to the pollution responsible for their actions. The lawsuit filed in 2016 was overseen by US District Senior Judge, the Honorable Lawrence E. Kahn. Honeywell agreed to the settlement amount of $64 million to resolve the case.
1. Honeywell settles Environmental air pollution lawsuit with heavy penalty Penalty amount: $69 million
In 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency referred findings of Honeywell Resins and Chemicals LLC’s environment-related offenses to the Justice Department. The company is a subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc. The Resins and Chemicals LLC engaged in production activities that caused harmful pollutants to infuse into the air, including benzene emissions and VOCs. The litigation resulted in Honeywell agreeing to pay a penalty of $3 million. The company also agreed to make changes to its processes to cut emissions. The cost to make the changes was $66 million for a total of $69 million. Honeywell enhanced leak detection and repair programs with the installation of catalytic reduction at key facility locations. It reduced the yearly NOx emissions by 6,260 tons, with 100 tons of other air pollutants lowered annually. The litigation and resulting agreements for settlement made significant progress in reducing the number of pollutants that Honeywell’s Resins and Chemical LLC would pump into the air in the future to bring the levels down and reduce danger to residents living in the area and beyond. The company is in the state of Virginia.
Most of the lawsuits surrounding Honeywell Inc involve violations of EPA standards of safety and contamination of the environment. Violations that result in harm to the environment affect everyone in the area. Some of the lawsuits involve fraud and misstatements of assets, mishandling of ERISA plans, and a few wage violations and unfair labor practices lawsuits. We’ve highlighted to ten biggest lawsuits that Honeywell has settled, but there are dozens of smaller lawsuits and settlements. It shows that the company continues to struggle with legal issues because it fails to comply with labor, SEC, and EPA standards.