Thomas McArtor, a senior quality control official for the London-based Rolls-Royce Corporation, filed a qui tam claim under the Federal False Claims Act in January 2008 that alleged acts of company fraud against the U.S. government. His complaint was kept under seal during that time while the Department of Justice investigated his allegations. After nearly three years, McArtor's complaint was unsealed just last week by a federal court in Indianapolis, with the case now going forward on behalf of the government.
McArtor worked at Rolls-Royce for more than a decade, and alleges that he was the victim of whistleblower retaliation for his reporting of safety defects that he says ultimately led to his firing in 2007.
What McArtor alleges is that Rolls-Royce knew of substantial defects in many of the aircraft engines produced at its Indianapolis plant over several years, a time during which McArtor served as the company's chief designated airworthiness representative in communications with the Federal Aviation Administration. The lawsuit contends that the company, while knowing of problems that affected engines used in a variety of civilian and military airplanes and helicopters, concealed those problems from customers, principally, the United States government. McArtor says that the company was intentionally lax on quality control measures in order to increase profits.
A Rolls-Royce spokesman says that the company "absolutely rejects" McArtor's complaint and all his assertions, including his allegation that "catastrophic failures" in some engines resulted in the deaths of service members employed in Iraq.