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Lockheed Martin will face whistle-blower lawsuit for F-35 work

Reversing an earlier decision, a federal judge has ruled that a whistle-blower lawsuit against Lockheed Martin over the company's work on the F-35 can go forward.

U.S. District Judge Terry Means ruled Monday that he had erred in his earlier decision to toss the suit by former Lockheed software engineer Sylvester Davis and reinstated the case.

Means ruled on an appeal by Davis' attorneys and said that dismissing the case "was erroneous and would result in injustice" to Davis.

Means ordered that Lockheed and Davis hold a settlement conference in February and a mediation conference in April, in hopes that the case can be settled out of court. The judge also set a series of procedural deadlines that could lead to a trial.

Davis filed the lawsuit in 2006, saying Lockheed violated the federal False Claims Act by charging the government for developing flight control software for the F-35 that was potentially unsafe because it did not follow guidelines and practices adopted by industry and the Defense Department.

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