False Claims Act Statistics, News & Analysis

  • 20
  • April
  • 2017

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The Hundred Years Firm

1917 was a momentous year: the Royal Bank of Canada took over Quebec Bank, Emperor Nicholas II of Russia abdicated his throne thus ending the Russian Empire, and the United States called off its search for Pancho Villa. But did you know that 1917 is also the year that our very own Vinson & Elkins was founded? Not quite as old as the False Claims Act – but almost!

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Armor Manufacturers (Mostly) Deflect FCA Claims Again Post-Escobar: District Court Finds Implied, Extra-Contractual Duties Not Bargained For and Thus Not Material

In related cases U.S. ex. rel. Westrick v. Second Chance Body Armor, Inc. and U.S. v. Toyobo Company, Ltd., the D.C. district court recently determined on a motion to reconsider post-Escobar that implied “extra-contractual” requirements, not included in the language of the contract with the government, may nevertheless form the basis of an implied certification claim. No. 1:07-cv-01144 (D.D.C. Mar. 31, 2017). But, the court found that since the government in Westrick and Toyobo presented no evidence that it in fact contracted or bargained for the alleged extra-contractual obligations, the obligations were not material to payment and affirmed its previous grant of summary judgment for defendants on their FCA claims based on a violation of those obligations.

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The Quicken Origin Story:  Michigan Federal Court Addresses False Claims Act

Last week we wrote about the opinion in United States v. Quicken Loans Inc., specifically discussing its ruling on causation of damages under the FCA. No. 16-CV-14050, 2017 WL 930039 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 9, 2017). As we noted, Quicken touches on other important FCA issues, including knowledge and materiality. But since liability necessarily precedes damages, let’s go back now to discuss certain of the court’s rulings on knowing violations of ambiguous rules under Safeco and on materiality after Escobar.

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Fifth Circuit Holds Relators’ Rubber Stamp Anxiety Insufficient to Clear Escobar’s Materiality Hurdle Given Government Inaction after Investigation

The Fifth Circuit recently issued a helpful materiality decision for defendants in Abbott v. BP Exploration & Production, finding that the Department of the Interior’s (“DOI”) decision to allow an oil production facility to continue operating after an investigation into the relators’ allegations is “strong evidence” that a regulation’s alleged stamping requirement is not material. No. 16-20028, 2017 WL 992506 (5th Cir. Mar. 14, 2017).

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A Rebel Claim Without a Cause? Michigan Federal Court Analyzes False Claims Act Causation of Damages Standard

In the recent decision in United States v. Quicken Loans Inc., the district court found the government adequately pleaded that Quicken Loan Inc. (“Quicken”) submitted false claims and made false statements material to false claims for insurance payouts from the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) for defaulted FHA-insured loans that Quicken had not properly underwritten. No. 16-CV-14050, 2017 WL 930039 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 9, 2017). As a result, the Court denied most of Quicken’s motion to dismiss except for one theory of liability and certain untimely claims.

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False Claims Act Cert. Monitor: Relator Asks Court to Extend Benefit of FCA Statute of Limitations Tolling Provision to Relators

As FCA aficionados know, the FCA’s statute of limitations provides that claims are timely only if they are brought either (1) within 6 years of the FCA violation, or (2) within 3 years of “the date when facts material to the right of action are known or reasonably should have been known by the official of the United States charged with responsibility to act in the circumstances,” up to 10 years after the FCA violation. A new FCA cert. petition raises the question whether relators in non-intervened qui tam cases can take advantage of the latter provision to toll the limitations period.

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