Articles Posted in Government Contracts

by
On remand from the United States Supreme Court, the Fourth Circuit held that the Government stated a claim under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729(a), against Triple Canopy. The Fourth Circuit reconsidered its earlier panel decision in light of Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, 136 S.Ct. 1989 (2016), and held that the Government properly alleged an FCA claim -- that Triple Canopy knowingly presented false claims -- under section 3729(a)(1)(A). In this case, the Government sufficiently alleged falsity, and nothing in Universal Health undermines the Fourth Circuit's earlier conclusion that Triple Canopy's falsity was material. The Fourth Circuit reinstated those portions of its opinion that were not impacted by Universal Health, and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States ex rel. Badr v. Triple Canopy" on Justia Law

by
BBII filed suit against the City for breach of contract, alleging that the City unlawfully assessed liquidated damages against the company for failure to complete a construction project on time. This case involved two public works contracts entered into by the parties, in which BBII agreed to build certain parts of a wastewater treatment system aimed at reducing pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. The court agreed with the district court that BBII is not excused from the normal requirement of administrative exhaustion under Maryland law. The court rejected BBII's remaining claims and affirmed the district court's dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Balfour Beatty Infrastructure v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed a qui tam suit under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, and the state equivalents, alleging that Manor Care was overbilling the government for medical services. Plaintiff also alleged a separate claim of retaliation, claiming that he was terminated after he notified his employer of the alleged overbilling. Christine A. Ribik had previously filed a qui tam suit under seal in the Eastern District of Virginia on behalf of the United States against Manor Care. The court dismissed the complaint under the FCA's first-to-file rule. The court concluded that plaintiff has not managed to avoid the first-to-file bar simply by alleging additional facts relating to how Manor Care overbilled, even though some of those specific allegations were not mentioned in Ribik's complaint. The court also concluded that plaintiff's alternative argument, that his complaint should not be dismissed because the district court consolidated them with Ribik's, failed under the plain language of the FCA. Therefore, the district court properly determined that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's qui tam action under the FCA. The court concluded, however, that the first-to-file rule has no relation to a claim for retaliation. Finally, the court concluded that the district court did not support its decision with any discussion or authority to establish that any of the states apply the FCA first-to-file rule, or its equivalent, to that state's statute. Therefore, the court affirmed in part, but vacated and remanded that part of the judgment concerning plaintiff's retaliation and state fraud claims. View "US ex rel. Carson v. Manor Care, Inc." on Justia Law

by
This case arose more than fifteen years ago as a bid-rigging scheme conjured up by shipping businesses to defraud the United States. In the qui tam proceedings at issue, a jury returned a verdict in 2011 against the Gosselin defendants. Relators appealed, contesting the district court's refusal to award civil penalties. The court granted relief and remanded for further proceedings. On remand, the district court was called upon to resolve the issue of whether relator Kurt Bunk was entitled to recover his judgment from another defendant, Government Logistics N.V. (GovLog). As a preliminary issue, the court concluded that the Peacock v. Thomas principle is inapplicable here, and the district court’s exercise of supplemental jurisdiction over the successor corporation liability claim against GovLog was entirely appropriate. The court concluded that the district court properly declined to apply the substantial continuity test here. However, the district court erred by dismissing Bunk's successor corporation liability claim as insufficiently pleaded. Finally, the court concluded that the district court erred in making the summary judgment award to GovLog. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "US ex rel. Kurt Bunk v. Government Logistics N.V." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit in Virginia state court against Appellants and others, alleging that plaintiff's husband, Bernard W. Ripley, was exposed to asbestos contained in products Appellants manufactured for the Navy, and that Appellants are liable for failure to warn of asbestos hazards. Appellants removed the case pursuant to the federal officer removal statute to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The district court remanded to state court, citing longstanding precedent in the district that denies the government contractor defense in failure to warn cases. However, given the weight of opposing precedent and the rationales supporting the defense, the court held that the government contractor defense is available in failure to warn cases. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for the district court to consider whether Appellants have presented sufficient proof to warrant removal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1442. View "Ripley v. Foster Wheeler LLC" on Justia Law

by
Relators filed suit under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, alleging that Academi knowingly submitted false claims to the United States in connection with a government contract to provide security services in Iraq and Afghanistan. The district court dismissed the complaint pursuant to the FCA's public-disclosure bar. The court concluded that the determination of when a plaintiff’s claims arise for purposes of the public-disclosure bar is governed by the date of the first pleading to particularly allege the relevant fraud and not by the timing of any subsequent pleading. The district court thus erred in holding the second-amended complaint was the relevant pleading by which to measure the public-disclosure bar. The court further concluded that the public-disclosure bar was inapplicable in this case where the article at issue on Wired.com was not a qualifying public disclosure that triggered the bar. Relators sufficiently pled the weapons qualifications scheme in their first-amended complaint that came well before the Wired.com article. Accordingly, the court vacated the portion of the district court’s order dismissing Relators’ weapons qualification claims under the public-disclosure bar and remanded for further proceedings. View "US ex rel. Beauchamp v. Academi Training Center" on Justia Law

by
Relator filed suit under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3730(h), against several defendants for violation of the Davis-Bacon Act, 40 U.S.C. 3141-3144, 3146, 3147. In this case, although the FCA complaint was properly filed under seal, relator's attorney revealed to relator's employer the existence of the complaint well before the end of the sixty day waiting period. The district court found a violation of the seal requirement and dismissed the action with prejudice. However, the court concluded that the dismissal was inappropriate under the FCA because the seal violation did not incurably frustrate the seal’s statutory purpose. The court further concluded that neither of the district court’s alternative reasons for dismissing relator’s claims - the doctrine of primary jurisdiction and failure to comply with Civil Procedure Rule 9(b) - warrant dismissal with prejudice. Finally, the court concluded that the district court erred when it dismissed relator’s retaliation claim. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Smith v. Clark/Smoot/Russell" on Justia Law

by
Relator filed a qui tam action against Tuomey under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729-33, and the government intervened. The jury determined that Tuomey did not violate the FCA, but the district court vacated the verdict and granted the government's motion for a new trial after concluding that it had erroneously excluded excerpts of a Tuomey executive's deposition testimony. In this appeal, Tuomey contends that the district court erred in granting the government’s motion for a new trial, and Tuomey raised numerous other challenges. The court concluded that the district court correctly granted the government’s motion for a new trial, albeit for a reason different than that relied upon by the district court. The court affirmed the district court’s order granting a new trial on the alternative ground urged by the government - that it was prejudiced by the exclusion of the executive’s testimony and other related evidence of his warnings to Tuomey regarding the legal peril that the employment contracts posed. The court rejected Tuomey’s claims of error following the second trial. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court’s judgment. View "U.S. ex rel. Drakeford v. Tuomey" on Justia Law

by
Relator appealed the district court's dismissal of her qui tam action under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3279-3733, for lack of jurisdiction. Relator alleged that fraudulent invoices were submitted to the federal government under the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) Program in both Graham and Cherokee Counties. In relator's third amended complaint, she named as defendants Graham County, the Graham County SWCD, and the Cherokee County SWCD, along with several individuals. Although the court found no fault with the district court's factual findings, the district court applied an incorrect legal standard in reaching its conclusion as to public disclosure. Rejecting the Seventh Circuit's view, the court held that a public disclosure requires that there be some act of disclosure outside of the government. In this case, while the Audit Report and the USDA Report at issue were disclosed to government officials charged with policing the type of fraud relator alleges, nothing in the record suggests that either report actually reached the public domain. Therefore, the public disclosure bar was not triggered on this basis. That the reports were disclosed to state and local government agencies as well as federal agencies does not alter the court's conclusion. Further, the existence of public information laws does not go against the court's holding. Accordingly, the district court had jurisdiction over this action and the court reversed. View "U.S. ex rel. Wilson v. Graham Cnty. Soil & Water" on Justia Law

by
The Government appeals the dismissal of Counts I and II of its complaint under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729(a)(1)(A) and 3729(a)(1)(B), against Triple Canopy. Triple Canopy contracted with the government to provide security services at the Al Asad Airbase in Iraq. The original relator also appeals the dismissal of his complaint. The court concluded that the Government has sufficiently alleged a false claim for purposes of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and Rule 9(b) where the complaint sufficiently alleged that Triple Canopy made a material false statement with the requisite scienter that resulted in payment (Count I). The district court also erred in finding that the original relator lacked standing to remain as a party on Count I. Further, the district court erred in dismissing Count II, the false records claim, where the Government has properly pled materiality as to this count. However, the court concluded that the district court correctly dismissed Counts II-V of the original relator's complaint for failing to comply with Rule 9(b). Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States ex rel. Omar Badr v. Triple Canopy, Inc." on Justia Law