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Fired Minnesota whistleblower wins nearly $1M in settlement

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A Minnesota man who says he was fired for being a whistleblower has won nearly $1 million in a $5.5 million settlement.

David McIntosh, 49, says for 14 months he tried to persuade his employer, M.K. Battery, to tell the U.S. Army about a manufacturing change that he thought could have fatal consequences for soldiers, according to a news release announcing the settlement. In April 2007, he called the U.S. Department of Defense himself. A few weeks later he was fired for insubordination.

McIntosh said the company decided to switch batteries that are installed in Humvees, which are used as backup power sources to turn gun turrets if the engine goes out. McIntosh claimed those batteries had less capacity than the batteries the Army thought it was buying.

"Worst-case scenario, if the troops in a Humvee were in a firefight ... they may have only half the power the Army was promised, which could mean life or death," McIntosh said, according to the Star Tribune.

The defendants, M.K. Battery and several other companies, in the False Claims Act case agreed to pay $5.5 million to the United States, including $990,000 for McIntosh, according to the settlement announced Tuesday.

"I believe strongly that the lives of American servicemen and women were put at risk by the switch in batteries. It is a relief to finally resolve this issue and know that the substitute batteries are no longer being used," McIntosh said in the news release.

M.K. Battery issued a statement saying it “denied that the batteries at issue did not meet the required specifications and the settlement with the government acknowledges that denial," the Star Tribune reports.

McIntosh does have a pending retaliatory termination case, the release says, which is expected to go to trial next spring.

“We are not interested in settling that case,” Clayton Halunen, McIntosh’s attorney, told the Star Tribune. “He wants to tell his story publicly at trial.”

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