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False Claims Act Statistics, News & Analysis

D.C. Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment to Defendant Where Relator "Utterly Failed to Tie" Alleged Kickbacks to a "Specific False Claim"

We have previously blogged about the long-running Barko qui tam litigation, in which V&E is defending KBR against FCA claims brought by Relator Harry Barko. As our prior post explains, Barko’s complaint centers primarily around an allegation that a KBR procurement employee took kickbacks from a subcontractor in return for purported favorable treatment, including awarding subcontracts with insufficient competition, allowing double-billing for goods and services (without back-charging the subcontractor), concealing poor performance, and other alleged wrongdoing. In March 2017, the district court granted summary judgment to KBR.

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"The Benefit of Hindsight": The D.C. Circuit Holds That the Government's Failure to Seek Repayments After Investigating a Relator’s Allegations Is "Very Strong Evidence" of Immateriality

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit issued its first decision applying Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar. The D.C. Circuit’s decision, United States ex rel. McBride v. Halliburton Co., provides important guidance regarding the False Claims Act’s materiality standard and applies that standard to an implied certification theory.

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Just What the Doctor Ordered: First Circuit Curtails Fraudulent-Inducement Theory Where Government Took No Action After Learning of FCA Allegations

In a pro-Defense bar, post-Escobar decision handed down shortly before the holidays, the First Circuit held that a relator could not proceed with an FCA claim based on alleged fraud in the inducement on the Food and Drug Administration because the FDA had not withdrawn or suspended its approval of the defendants’ medical device in response to relator’s allegations. D’Agostino v. ev3, Inc., No. 16-1126, 2016 WL 7422943 (1st Cir. Dec. 23, 2016). The opinion also doubles down on the First Circuit’s Cyberonics decision that we wrote about here, again rejecting as insufficiently particular under Rule 9(b), allegations that identify a fraudulent scheme but fail to show that false claims actually were submitted to the government as a result.

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Escobar Gives Relators a "Shot" at Implied False Certification Claim

Adding to the number of post-Escobar opinions already issued, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia recently denied a motion for judgment on the pleadings on the issue of whether an implied false certification claim was sufficiently pled under Escobar in United States ex. rel. Beauchamp v. Academi Training Center Inc., No. 11-cv-371 (E.D.Va. Nov. 30, 2016). The Beauchamprelators alleged that the defendant, a private security company, falsely certified compliance with its contract with the U.S. State Department when it billed the government for warzone security guards who did not meet weapons certification requirements. Relying on Escobar, the court found the relators sufficiently pled that the defendant had made specific misrepresentations about the services it provided and these misrepresentations were material to the government’s decision to pay the defendant.

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High Court Knocks Out Mandatory Dismissal but Leaves Circuit Split on Standard Intact

We last wrote about State Farm & Casualty Company v. United States ex rel. Rigsby (No. 15-513) to report on oral arguments, where the parties (and the government) battled over the standard to be applied in determining whether a qui tam action should be dismissed based on a relator’s violation of the FCA seal requirement. We put our money on the Court declining to require automatic dismissal – and we were right.

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"Leak Away!": State Farm Cautions Court of Message to be Sent to Future Seal-Violators

Last week, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in State Farm & Casualty Company v. United States ex rel. Rigsby (No. 15-513). For the third year in a row, the Court granted certiorari in an FCA case, here to resolve a circuit split over the standard for determining whether a qui tam action should be dismissed due to a violation of the statute’s seal requirement.

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