New York City

Contractor botched court officers’ bulletproof vests, new lawsuit alleges

September 3, 2013 By Charisma L. Miller, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Bulletproof vests that were ordered for New York State court officers were faulty, and the manufacturer’s failure to remedy the problem places the lives of many court officers at risk, a new lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court alleges.

The New York State Court Officers Association (NYSCOA) ordered 148 bulletproof vests for members whose previous vests were outdated and those who decided it was time to “wisely wear them” from North Carolina-based company KDH Defense Systems (KDH).  KDH personnel measured NYSCOA members and shortly thereafter delivered the vests.  The current lawsuit asserts that the delivered vests “did not fit the officers properly.”  

The vests presented a further issue: The grommets — rings used to reinforce the cloth openings where the officers’ shields are displayed — were too small, making it impossible for the officers to wear their “mandated identification badge[s].”

 “Nobody can wear their shields,” Dennis Quirk, NYSCOA president, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Despite being notified of the issues, KDH “is refusing to even make a pretense of resolving the various problems, and is only demanding payment,” the suit contends.

Quirk noted that this is the first time that NYSCOA has used KDH as a product provider. “KDH was recommended to us by a prior salesman who no longer works there,” Quirk said. “We are dissatisfied with KDH; they have provided a very inferior product.”

The suit alleges that due to the reduced military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, KDH’s staff has been slightly diminished. The reduced staff, the suit continues, is a possible reason as to why the inadequate vests have not been remedied.

NYSCOA is demanding that it be able to return the defective vests at KDH’s expense and that NYSCOA not be held liable for any injuries that its officers may incur due to the lack of vests.

At present some officers are wearing no vest or making do with the old ones. “We just want to return the vests,” Quirk said.

KDH could not be reached for comment.

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