Michael Klump is a former enlisted serviceman and a sheet metal worker at Ellis & Watts Company in Batavia, Ohio, a subsidiary of Dynamics Corporation of America. Ellis & Watts was awarded a United States Air Force subcontract by Lockheed Martin to manufacture a fleet of specialized nuclear missile payload transporter trailers designed to transport, install and maintain Minuteman missile components, including the nuclear payload, the reentry system, propulsion system rocket engine and missile guidance system.
Despite certifications by Ellis &Watts that these missile trailers complied with all military standards and specification, the entire fleet was delivered with numerous mechanical and electrical defects that resulted in the Air Force having to ground the entire fleet of transporters.
Additionally, a “new” specialized Ellis & Watts trailer sold to the Navy Surface Warfare Center was, in fact, a 5-year-old torn, dented and rusted trailer shell that had been used by Ellis & Watts to store its scrap. Mike Klump and his attorneys at Helmer, Martins, Rice & Popham worked in tandem with the United States Department of Justice and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service in prosecuting False Claims Act claims against Ellis & Watts. The case was settled on August 17, 2000 with the Defendants paying $1 million to the United States and an additional $500,000 in statutory fees and costs. Mr. Klump received a 22% relator’s share of the $1 million recovery.