Articles Posted in U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals

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The Village commenced this action against the Corps to require it to honor commitments made to the Village and other North Carolina towns when developing its plan to widen, deepen, and realign portions of the Cape Fear River navigation channel. The district court dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court agreed with the district court's holding that the Corps' failure to implement "commitments" made to the Village during development of the plans for the project was not final agency action subject to judicial review. The court also concluded that the alleged contracts on which the Village relied for its contract claims were not maritime contracts that justified the exercise of admiralty jurisdiction. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Village of Bald Head Island v. U. S. Army Corps" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a retaliation action under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, alleging that defendants, IST and its parent company, EDO, fired plaintiff because he reported IST to the government for what he believed to be fraudulent conduct. IST is a New Hampshire corporation that designs and manufactures counter-improvised explosive devices (C-IEDs) for the government. Plaintiff, hired by IST as an engineer, made complaints regarding what he perceived as the failure of Mobile Multi-Band Jammer systems (MMBJs) devices to function properly at elevated temperatures. The court held that plaintiff's purported investigation activities did not raise a distinct possibility of a viable FCA action and were not protected; the court could not say that IST made a material false certification of compliance with government contracts; and plaintiff's complaint about IST did not raise a distinct possibility of a viable FCA claim. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Glynn v. EDO Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729, alleging that defendants fraudulently billed the United States for services provided to the military forces serving in Iraq. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's dismissal of his complaint with prejudice. Because the court concluded that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction and the court found that the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA), 18 U.S.C. 3287, applied to this action, the court reversed. Because it could be appropriate for the district court to make factual findings to consider the public disclosure claim urged by defendants the court remanded so the district court could consider this issue. View "United States ex rel. Carter v. Halliburton Co." on Justia Law

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In this case, a subcontractor to a subcontractor to a prime contractor with a federal agency brought a procedural due process claim against that agency and tort actions against a separate contractor for allegedly causing the termination of his at-will consulting agreement. The court concluded that plaintiff's case involved both the wrong defendants and the wrong claims. Because permitting these claims to go forward would reward artful pleading and impermissibly constitutionalize state tort law, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants. View "Shrivinski v. United States Coast Guard, et al." on Justia Law

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Appellants challenged the Agencies' execution of a tiered review process related to planning improvements to Virginia's Interstate 81 corridor. The district court rejected appellants' challenge which alleged various constitutional and statutory violations. On appeal, appellants claimed that the Agencies were attempting to foreclose consideration of environmentally friendly alternatives for specific sections of I-81 by choosing a corridor-wide improvement concept in the first stage of the review process. The court held, however, that appellants misapprehended the Agencies' position where the Agencies planned to comply with the Stipulation in this case and the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., by considering site-specific alternatives to the corridor-wide concept in subsequent stages. Because there was no actual dispute here, and because appellants could not show any injury or imminent threat of injury, this suit was not justiciable. Accordingly, the court dismissed the appeal. View "Shenandoah Valley Network v. Capka, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, 72 Iraqis who were seized in Iraq by the U.S. military and detained at various locations throughout Iraq, commenced this action against L-3 Services, a military contractor, alleging that L-3 Services' employees and military personnel conspired among themselves and with others to torture and abuse them while they were detained and to cover up that conduct. L-3 Services filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on numerous grounds and the district court denied the motion. The court reversed and remanded with instructions to dismiss this case for the reasons given in Al-Shimari v. CACI International. The court held that plaintiffs' state law claims were preempted by federal law and displaced by it, as articulated in Saleh v. Titan Corp. View " Al-Quraishi v. L-3 Services, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, four Iraqi citizens, who were seized by the U.S. military in the Iraq war zone and detained by the military in Abu Ghraib prison, near Baghdad, commenced this tort action against a civilian contractor retained by the military to assist it at the prison in conducting interrogations for the purpose of obtaining intelligence. Plaintiffs alleged that while they were detained, the contractor's employees and military personnel conspired among themselves and with others to torture and abuse them and to cover up that conduct. The contractor filed a motion to dismiss on numerous grounds and the district court denied the motion. On appeal, the court reversed and remanded with instructions to dismiss the case. The court held that the plaintiffs' state law claims were preempted by federal law and displaced by it, as articulated in Saleh v. Titan Corp. View "Al Shimari, et al. v. CACI Int'l, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's refusal to enforce a settlement agreement between plaintiff and his former employer, a government contractor, after plaintiff brought an action against his employer under the False Claims Act. At issue was whether the district court erred by not enforcing the settlement agreement, whether the district court made various errors during trial entitling plaintiff to a new trial, and whether the district court erred by awarding attorneys' fees to the employer. The court held that the district court properly denied plaintiff's motion to enforce the settlement agreement where the agreement died when the government rejected it and was not revived by a subsequent agreement between plaintiff and the government. The court also held that plaintiff was not entitled to a new trial where the district court committed no reversible error during trial The court further held that the district court erred in awarding attorneys' fees to the employer where plaintiff's claims were not clearly frivolous.