State Corrections Lt. Fred House's widow is suing the company that made the "bullet-proof" vest her husband wore when he was shot during an arrest attempt at the Singer-Swapp farm in Marion, Summit County.
Ann House says her husband relied on the vest that Armour of America Inc., a Los Angeles company, had sold the state, to protect him from gunshots to his torso - and died as a result.House was killed Jan. 28, 1988, during an attempt to arrest Addam and Jonathan Swapp when he stepped into a doorway and was hit by a bullet from a .30-caliber carbine fired from 70 yards away.
The bullet "struck and penetrated the insert of Lt. House's `bullet-proof' vest and then penetrated the vest, passing through Lt. House's body," the suit says.
According to the complaint filed in 3rd District Court, the company and various John Doe defendants who helped make and sell the vest failed to warn House or other users that the vest would likely fail if struck by a rifle bullet.
In fact, the suit says, the vest won't even necessarily protect against the types of bullets listed on the attached warranty/warning label.
The label was misleading, because it said the vest could contain a 240-grain bullet fired at point-blank range from a .44 Magnum revolver, one of the most powerful handguns commercially available, but did not say it could be penetrated by a bullet from a .30-caliber carbine - a rabbit or squirrel gun, the suit says.
House and other law enforcement officers have been led to rely on their vests for protection when, in fact, they shouldn't try any maneuvers in the Armour vest that they would not try without one, the suit says.
Mrs. House is seeking general damages to be determined in court, special damages, punitive damages and an injunction requiring Armour to warn Utah users of its vest about the product's limitations.