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Terry Goddard announces further safety concerns about Zylon® made bullet-proof vests

(Phoenix, Ariz. – September 15, 2004)  Attorney General Terry Goddard warned Arizona law enforcement personnel to check their bullet-proof vests to determine if they are manufactured with Zylon® fiber after another body armor manufacturer contacted the Attorney General’s Office voicing its concerns that its vest may not provide adequate protection. 

Armor Holdings, Inc. recently contacted the Arizona Attorney General’s office indicating that the ABA Xtreme ZX® may not provide protection throughout its five-year warranty.  Their letter indicates that its “testing shows that the (vest) has the statistical potential to fall below the desired safety threshold prior to its current 60-month warranty.” 

Armor Holdings and its related companies, which manufacture bullet-proof vests such as ABA Xtreme ZX, the ABA Xtreme Z, the ABA Xtreme X, the Protech TM Stealth Eliteand the Safariland® Platinum, have been named in a private class action suit in Florida by the Southern States Police Benevolent Association.   

This revelation from Armor Holdings follows on the heels of the Attorney General’s Office filing an amended complaint against Second Chance for violating the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act in connection with bulletproof vests manufactured with Zylon® fiber.   

“As we have developed the case against Second Chance we have discovered egregious behavior through company documents,” Goddard said.  “The documents reveal that company officials knew the products degraded when exposed to certain elements, and they deliberately withheld information that could save lives.” 

In one document discovered by the Attorney General’s Office:  “Letter to the Executive Board by Richard C. Davis, Company President" dated July 29, 2002,” possible solutions to the problem were outlined for the Board to consider: 

Possible Solutions

  • Solution #1)  We continue operating as though nothing is wrong until one of our customers is killed or wounded, or Germany, Japan, Dupont, or some other entity exposes the Zylon®  problem. 
  • Downfalls)  Either a Law Enforcement Officer will be killed wearing one of our vests, or an involuntary exposure will lead to gross exaggeration.  In either case, we will be forced to make excuses as to why we didn't recognize and correct the problem.  In the eyes of law enforcement we will either be stupid for not knowing, or greedy and uncaring for knowing and not doing anything about it." 

Goddard also noted that Armor Holdings established a new warranty program for the ABA Extreme ZX® and instituted an immediate warranty/exchange program.  In addition, the Attorney General’s Office has been notified of a potential settlement to the class action in Florida.   

Arizona law enforcement personnel who use an ABA Xtreme ZX® will need to determine if they qualify to be a member of the class and can benefit from the settlement.  The deadline for filing an exclusion and/or objection to the proposed settlement is September 20, 2004. 

Exhibits included in the amended complaint will be posted on the Attorney General’s Web site at www.azag.gov under press releases.