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False Claims Act/Qui Tam Litigation

Vinson & Elkins has successfully represented clients in all aspects of False Claims Act (FCA) and qui tam litigation cases. Our lawyers are involved in cutting edge FCA issues, obtaining favorable results on behalf of our clients in a wide variety of subject matters and legal issues. V&E’s FCA practice is led by a former federal prosecutor and comprises white collar criminal defense lawyers skilled in responding to civil investigative demands and subpoenas, persuading the government not to intervene, procuring early dismissals of cases, obtaining advantageous settlements, and, when necessary, leading litigation through all stages of trial and appeal.

Client Successes in High-Stakes Litigation

V&E’s record of obtaining impressive wins and establishing legal precedents is unique in this time of aggressive governmental enforcement. The DOJ announced another big recovery year with over $4.7 billion in settlements and judgments recovered generated by FCA litigation in fiscal year 2016. Whistleblowers (called relators) continue to bring the majority of the FCA cases each year and received $519 million in 2016 from these suits, providing a powerful incentive for a whistleblower to bring a case. In addition, DOJ has increased the per-occurrence penalties for an FCA violation from between $5,500 and $11,000 to between $10,781 and $21,563 for conduct after November 2, 2015, with penalties now set to be ratcheted up each year to account for inflation. These developments highlight the need for companies conducting business with the U.S. government to secure experienced and innovative legal counsel. In recent years, our team has established significant judicial precedents on key FCA issues, such as what conduct is “material,” the definition of “claim,” fraud in the inducement, express and implied false certification, and whether governmental noncompliance constitutes fraud. V&E already has achieved significant victories for its clients to get cases dismissed and win important discovery disputes by making arguments based on the Supreme Court’s June 2016 Escobar decision. In addition, in 2015 V&E won a 9-0 ruling from the Supreme Court in a closely watched case that resulted in landmark decision that the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act does not toll the statute of limitations in civil fraud cases, including the False Claims Act. 

Coordinated Strategy

Integrated experience and knowledge across multiple practice areas, including government contracts, financial services, energy, environmental, internal and government investigations, and litigation, ensures that clients receive comprehensive legal representation. Our lawyers frequently confer with the DOJ and other government agencies on behalf of clients, and have insight into those agencies’ enforcement priorities and constantly evolving expectations. The result is the practical and strategic legal advice V&E’s clients have come to expect.

Additional Information

Practice Highlights

  • (U.S.); (4th Cir.); (E.D. Va.) — Won 9-0 ruling from the Supreme Court in landmark decision that Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act does not toll the statute of limitations in civil fraud cases, including the False Claims Act
  • (Fed. Cl.) — Defended a government contractor in a $1.4 billion fraud trial against the United States that resulted in judgment for the government contractor on all but one claim, which resulted in a low value negotiated settlement
  • (D.C. Cir.); (D.D.C.) — Won summary judgment in this non-intervened qui tam regarding morale, welfare, and recreation services; affirmed on appeal in first post-Escobar case in D.C. Circuit
  • (S.D. Tex.); (Fifth Circuit) — Defended a global supplier of telecommunications products in qui tam action regarding its provision of services to schools and libraries under the federal E-Rate program; although the district court denied a motion to dismiss, the Fifth Circuit reversed and held on an issue of first impression that funds from the E-Rate program are not “provided by” the United States for purposes of the False Claims Act
  • (D.C. Cir.); (D.D.C.) — Represented a government contractor in qui tam action in which V&E successfully obtained two writs of mandamus vindicating the contractor’s claim of attorney-client privilege over materials created during an internal investigation led by company lawyers; subsequently won summary judgment on all counts
  • (4th Cir.); (E.D. Va.) — Obtained dismissal of qui tam against a government contractor on grounds that alleged contractual deficiencies do not create False Claims Act liability; appellate court affirmed the dismissal in a published opinion that has been cited in countless False Claims Act cases since
  • (C.D. Ill.) — Successfully defended a government contractor in qui tam action where a relator sought more than $600 million in damages and penalties; relator voluntarily dismissed the suit after V&E won a parallel contract interpretation suit against the Army in which the Army adopted the contractor’s interpretation of the contract, which preempted relator’s claims
  • (E.D. Va.) — Defended a global supplier of communications and security products in qui tam action regarding its dealings with a government customer that resulted in favorable settlement at a small fraction of the United States’ original damages claim
  • (S.D. Tex.) — Represented an individual in a large mortgage FCA case brought by DOJ in which the individual was charged with violating FIRREA by making false statements and certifications to the Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • (E.D. La.) — Obtained dismissal of qui tam alleging false statements and reverse false claims by operators of offshore production facilities under federal oil and gas leases
  • (E.D. Tex.) — Obtained dismissal of intervened qui tam and Anti-Kickback Act claim regarding kickbacks; the government did not appeal the FCA claim
  • (D. Colo.) — V&E was hired, after an adverse jury verdict, to handle post-verdict motions and the appeal in this qui tam royalty case.  V&E obtained a favorable ruling awarding minimal amounts of statutory penalties and subsequently settled the case on favorable terms

Key Contacts

+1.202.639.6540
cmargolis@velaw.com
+1.202.639.6670
tlollar@velaw.com

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