Justia Government Contracts Opinion Summaries
Mississippi True v. Dzielak et al.
An unsuccessful bidder on managed-care contracts for MississippiCAN, the state’s managed-care program, argued that the Division of Medicaid and its executive director violated multiple statutes and regulations in procuring the contracts. Mississippi True appealed the decision of the chancery court affirming the Division of Medicaid’s award of the contracts to three other companies and the chancery court’s order denying its motion to sever and transfer its damages claims to circuit court. The Mississippi Supreme Court "thoroughly reviewed the voluminous record" and concluded that Mississippi True has failed to prove any basis for reversal. "The decision of the DOM was supported by substantial evidence, was not arbitrary or capricious, was not beyond the DOM’s power to make, and did not violate Mississippi True’s statutory or constitutional rights." View "Mississippi True v. Dzielak et al." on Justia Law
Anaheim Gardens, L.P. v. United States
The 1961 National Housing Act provided financial incentives to private developers to build low-income housing, including below-market mortgages insured by HUD. Participating developers had limited ability to increase rents while HUD insured the mortgage. The mortgage term was 40 years but developers could prepay their mortgages after 20 years and convert to market-rate housing. The 1988-1990 Preservation Statutes eliminated the prepayment option, 12 U.S.C. 4101. The 1996 Housing Opportunity Program Extension Act restored prepayment rights to developers still in the program. Four “first wave plaintiffs” (FWPs) owned their properties before the Preservation Statutes and sold after their enactment, consistent with the 1990 Low-Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act (LIHPRHA) to organizations that preserved the rent restrictions. One FWP owned its property before the Preservation Statutes and remained in the program, obtaining HUD financial incentives in exchange for abiding by the restrictions for the property's "remaining useful life.” The final FWP (Casa) purchased its property in 1991 and sold pursuant to LIHPRHA. The FWPs alleged regulatory taking. The Claims Court applied the “Penn Central” three-factor test and rejected the claims on summary judgment. The Federal Circuit affirmed with respect to Casa, a sophisticated investor that voluntarily purchased its property with knowledge that it had no prepayment option and had no reasonable investment-backed expectation. The court otherwise vacated. The character of the governmental action and the investment-backed expectations weighed against summary judgment and the Claims Court did not consider certain genuine issues of fact regarding the calculations of economic impact. View "Anaheim Gardens, L.P. v. United States" on Justia Law
Uber Technologies Pricing Cases
Taxi companies and taxi medallion owners sued Uber, alleging violations of the Unfair Practices Act’s (UPA) prohibition against below-cost sales (Bus & Prof. Code, 17043) and of the Unfair Competition Law (section 17200). The UPA makes it unlawful “for any person engaged in business within this State to sell any article or product at less than the cost thereof to such vendor, or to give away any article or product, for the purpose of injuring competitors or destroying competition” but does not apply “[t]o any service, article or product for which rates are established under the jurisdiction of the [California] Public Utilities Commission [(CPUC)] . . . and sold or furnished by any public utility corporation.” Uber is a “public utility corporation” under section 17024 and is subject to CPUC’s jurisdiction. CPUC has conducted extensive regulatory proceedings in connection with Uber’s business but has not yet established the rates for any Uber service or product. The trial court ruled the exemption applies when the CPUC has jurisdiction to set rates, regardless of whether it has yet done so, and dismissed the case. The court of appeal affirmed, reaching “the same conclusion as to the applicability of section 17024(1) as have three California federal district courts, two within the last year, in cases alleging identical UPA claims against Uber.” View "Uber Technologies Pricing Cases" on Justia Law
Winter v. Gardens Regional Hospital & Medical Center, Inc.
The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of a qui tam action brought by relator under the False Claims Act, alleging that defendants submitted, or caused to be submitted, Medicare claims falsely certifying that patients' inpatient hospitalizations were medically necessary. After determining that it had jurisdiction, the panel held that a plaintiff need not allege falsity beyond the requirements adopted by Congress in the FCA, which primarily punishes those who submit, conspire to submit, or aid in the submission of false or fraudulent claims. The panel wrote that Congress imposed no requirement of proving "objective falsity," and the panel had no authority to rewrite the statute to add such a requirement. The panel held that a doctor’s clinical opinion must be judged under the same standard as any other representation. The panel explained that a doctor, like anyone else, can express an opinion that he knows to be false, or that he makes in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity. Therefore, a false certification of medical necessity can give rise to FCA liability. The panel also held that a false certification of medical necessity can be material because medical necessity is a statutory prerequisite to Medicare reimbursement. View "Winter v. Gardens Regional Hospital & Medical Center, Inc." on Justia Law
Lakeview Excavating, Inc. v. Dickey County, et al.
Lakeview Excavating appealed a district court judgment dismissing its complaint against Dickey County and German Township (Defendants) for breach of contract, intentional fraud, and misrepresentation. In spring 2012, the Defendants awarded to Lakeview three road construction project contracts funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The parties executed three identical contracts, one for each project. The contracts required Lakeview to provide the necessary documents to satisfy FEMA requirements for funding. Lakeview had to use more material than was listed in the bid documents to complete the projects. Some of the material used by Lakeview was taken from private property without permission and resulted in litigation against Lakeview. Lakeview completed the road construction projects in August 2012. In October 2016, Lakeview sued the Defendants for breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, and unlawful interference with business. The court ruled Lakeview breached its contracts with the Defendants, and held Lakeview’s tort claims against the Defendants were barred by the statute of limitations. Lakeview appealed, but finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Lakeview Excavating, Inc. v. Dickey County, et al." on Justia Law
Office Design Group v. United States
The VA issued Requests for Proposals (RFP) for the provision of healthcare furniture and related services for VA facilities for five geographic regions. The RFP described a best-value tradeoff selection process that considered three primary evaluation factors: Technical Capability, Past Performance, and Price. Technical Capability was more important than Past Performance and Past Performance more important than Price. Technical Capability subfactor 3 specified that an offeror’s technical proposal must include specific elements. The RFP noted that an “unacceptable” rating for any technical subfactor would result in an overall “unacceptable” technical proposal. An offeror with an unacceptable Technical Capability subfactor was ineligible for a contract award. The VA assigned ODG's bid an unacceptable rating for its technical proposal, noting that it was only able to locate responses to six of the 33 questions in Attachment 15, resulting in a failing score of 12 points. The VA explained that ODG’s technical proposal “lacked detail” and failed to address seven service requirements. Each of the awardees earned at least 40 points for its technical proposal. ODG filed a bid protest. The Claims Court and Federal Circuit upheld the VA’s actions, rejecting arguments that the VA unreasonably and disparately evaluated ODG's technical proposal in comparison to the awardees’ technical proposals and improperly relied on Attachment 15 to evaluate its technical proposal. View "Office Design Group v. United States" on Justia Law
Druding v. Care Alternatives
Care Alternatives provides hospice care to New Jersey patients, employing “interdisciplinary teams” of registered nurses, chaplains, social workers, home health aides, and therapists working alongside independent physicians who serve as hospice medical directors. Former Alternatives employees filed suit under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729–3733 alleging that Alternatives admitted patients who were ineligible for hospice care and directed its employees to improperly alter those patients’ Medicare certifications to reflect eligibility. They retained an expert, who opined in his report that, based on the records of the 47 patients he examined, the patients were inappropriately certified for hospice care 35 percent of the time. Alternatives’ expert testified that a reasonable physician would have found all of those patients hospice-eligible. The district court determined that a mere difference of opinion between experts regarding the accuracy of the prognosis was insufficient to create a triable dispute of fact as to the element of falsity and required that the plaintiffs provide evidence of an objective falsehood. Upon finding they had not adduced such evidence, the court granted Alternatives summary judgment. The Third Circuit vacated, rejecting the objective falsehood requirement for FCA falsity. The plaintiffs’ expert testimony created a genuine dispute of material fact as to falsity. View "Druding v. Care Alternatives" on Justia Law
McDonald v. Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Maryland
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs in this action seeking to recover delinquent contributions to various trust funds for construction on a state construction project, holding that the right of action under a payment bond statute extends to any amount due an employee, meaning any amount that is traceable specifically to an employee. One of the subcontractors hired to work on the project failed to make contributions to various trust funds for its employees' work on the project, as required by trust agreements and a collective bargaining agreement. The trusts (Plaintiffs) sought to recover the delinquent contributions from the public payment bond associated with the project by suing Defendant, the surety for the payment bond. The district court granted summary judgment for Plaintiffs. On appeal, the parties disputed whether Utah Code 63G-6-505(4) limits the right of action on a payment bond to amounts due to an employee or encompasses claims for any amounts due for an employee or on the employee's behalf. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the right of action under the public payment bond statute contemplates recovery of any specific benefit that is due a person in the sense of being traceable to that person. View "McDonald v. Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Maryland" on Justia Law
Barrientos v. CoreCivic, Inc.
Plaintiffs, current and former alien detainees, filed a class action under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and Georgia law, alleging that CoreCivic, a private contractor which owns and operates the Stewart Detention Center, coerces alien detainees to perform labor at the detention center by, inter alia, the use or threatened use of serious harm, criminal prosecution, solitary confinement, and the withholding of basic necessities. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of CoreCivic's motion to dismiss the complaint and held that the TVPA applies to private for-profit contractors operating federal immigration detention facilities. Specifically, the court held that, under the plain language of the statute, the TVPA covers the conduct of private contractors operating federal immigration detention facilities; the TVPA does not bar private contractors from operating the sort of voluntary work programs generally authorized under federal law for aliens held in immigration detention facilities; but private contractors that operate such work programs are not categorically excluded from the TVPA and may be liable if they knowingly obtain or procure the labor or services of a program participant through the illegal coercive means explicitly listed in the TVPA. View "Barrientos v. CoreCivic, Inc." on Justia Law
City of Fort Smith v. Merriott
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying the City of Fort Smith's motion to compel class notice on Plaintiff's claims alleging illegal exaction and unjust enrichment against on the ground that the City waived notice by moving for summary judgment prior to class certification and notice, holding that the circuit court erroneously interpreted National Enterprises, Inc. v. Kessler, 213 S.W.3d 597 (Ark. 2005). Plaintiff alleged that the City misused public funds from the City's curbside residential recycling program. Twelve days after her complaint was filed Plaintiff moved for class certification. The City responded to the class certification motion and, separately, moved for summary judgment. The circuit court then certified the same class for both claims and, three months later, denied the City's motion for summary judgment. The City later filed its motion to compel class notice. The circuit court held that, under Kessler, the timing of the City's motion for summary judgment waived notice even though the motion was ultimately successful. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court's decision was premised on an erroneous interpretation of the Supreme Court's decision in Kessler. View "City of Fort Smith v. Merriott" on Justia Law