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False Claims Act Statistics, News & Analysis

  • 28
  • September
  • 2017

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Futrell Enters the Fray on Whether the FCA Covers the E-Rate Program Despite Funding from Telecomm. Industry

Last month, a Missouri district court in U.S. ex rel. Futrell v. E-Rate Program, LLC handed down a decision of interest to the telecommunications industry. The defendant contracts with schools and school districts to help them obtain funds under the E-Rate Program, a program that provides subsidies and discounts to schools to secure affordable telecommunications and Internet access. The program is administered by USAC, a private non-profit organization subject to regulations of (but not controlled by) the FCC, and is funded by mandatory contributions from private interstate telecommunications carriers. The Futrell court found that FCA liability may exist in such circumstances, even though the USAC funds are not government dollars. The Futrell decision adds to a disagreement between at least two district courts and one circuit court on this issue.

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False Claims Act Cert. Monitor: Six FCA Cert. Petitions Bite the Dust, Five Remain

Denied petitions for certiorari are a dime a dozen. So it should not come as a surprise that most FCA cert. petitions that we write about fail. But still, we hate to see ’em go. Yet, here we are, in this first Cert. Monitor post of 2017, saying bon voyage to six FCA cert. petitions from our mid-term review, leaving just five more that remain pending.

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Fifth Circuit Reaffirms that Speculative Penalty Exposure Does Not a "Reverse False Claim" Make

In the context of an environmentally-based FCA case, the Fifth Circuit held last week that a contingent penalty cannot create reverse false claim liability because it is not an “obligation” to pay the government. This holding marks at least the third time in as many months that a circuit court has addressed the FCA’s reverse false claim provision and is the second of those decisions construing the definition of “obligation” under the FCA as amended by the 2009 Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (“FERA”). The two decisions resulted in different outcomes, however: one handed the defendant a resounding victory, and the other breathed life back into the relator’s case. Is this yet another circuit-split and potential fodder for Supreme Court review? Not so fast.

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