Justia Government Contracts Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
United States ex rel. Badr v. Triple Canopy
On remand from the United States Supreme Court, the Fourth Circuit held that the Government stated a claim under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729(a), against Triple Canopy. The Fourth Circuit reconsidered its earlier panel decision in light of Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, 136 S.Ct. 1989 (2016), and held that the Government properly alleged an FCA claim -- that Triple Canopy knowingly presented false claims -- under section 3729(a)(1)(A). In this case, the Government sufficiently alleged falsity, and nothing in Universal Health undermines the Fourth Circuit's earlier conclusion that Triple Canopy's falsity was material. The Fourth Circuit reinstated those portions of its opinion that were not impacted by Universal Health, and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States ex rel. Badr v. Triple Canopy" on Justia Law
Balfour Beatty Infrastructure v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore
BBII filed suit against the City for breach of contract, alleging that the City unlawfully assessed liquidated damages against the company for failure to complete a construction project on time. This case involved two public works contracts entered into by the parties, in which BBII agreed to build certain parts of a wastewater treatment system aimed at reducing pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. The court agreed with the district court that BBII is not excused from the normal requirement of administrative exhaustion under Maryland law. The court rejected BBII's remaining claims and affirmed the district court's dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Balfour Beatty Infrastructure v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore" on Justia Law
US ex rel. Carson v. Manor Care, Inc.
Plaintiff filed a qui tam suit under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, and the state equivalents, alleging that Manor Care was overbilling the government for medical services. Plaintiff also alleged a separate claim of retaliation, claiming that he was terminated after he notified his employer of the alleged overbilling. Christine A. Ribik had previously filed a qui tam suit under seal in the Eastern District of Virginia on behalf of the United States against Manor Care. The court dismissed the complaint under the FCA's first-to-file rule. The court concluded that plaintiff has not managed to avoid the first-to-file bar simply by alleging additional facts relating to how Manor Care overbilled, even though some of those specific allegations were not mentioned in Ribik's complaint. The court also concluded that plaintiff's alternative argument, that his complaint should not be dismissed because the district court consolidated them with Ribik's, failed under the plain language of the FCA. Therefore, the district court properly determined that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's qui tam action under the FCA. The court concluded, however, that the first-to-file rule has no relation to a claim for retaliation. Finally, the court concluded that the district court did not support its decision with any discussion or authority to establish that any of the states apply the FCA first-to-file rule, or its equivalent, to that state's statute. Therefore, the court affirmed in part, but vacated and remanded that part of the judgment concerning plaintiff's retaliation and state fraud claims. View "US ex rel. Carson v. Manor Care, Inc." on Justia Law
US ex rel. Kurt Bunk v. Government Logistics N.V.
This case arose more than fifteen years ago as a bid-rigging scheme conjured up by shipping businesses to defraud the United States. In the qui tam proceedings at issue, a jury returned a verdict in 2011 against the Gosselin defendants. Relators appealed, contesting the district court's refusal to award civil penalties. The court granted relief and remanded for further proceedings. On remand, the district court was called upon to resolve the issue of whether relator Kurt Bunk was entitled to recover his judgment from another defendant, Government Logistics N.V. (GovLog). As a preliminary issue, the court concluded that the Peacock v. Thomas principle is inapplicable here, and the district court’s exercise of supplemental jurisdiction over the successor corporation liability claim against GovLog was entirely appropriate. The court concluded that the district court properly declined to apply the substantial continuity test here. However, the district court erred by dismissing Bunk's successor corporation liability claim as insufficiently pleaded. Finally, the court concluded that the district court erred in making the summary judgment award to GovLog. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "US ex rel. Kurt Bunk v. Government Logistics N.V." on Justia Law
Ripley v. Foster Wheeler LLC
Plaintiff filed suit in Virginia state court against Appellants and others, alleging that plaintiff's husband, Bernard W. Ripley, was exposed to asbestos contained in products Appellants manufactured for the Navy, and that Appellants are liable for failure to warn of asbestos hazards. Appellants removed the case pursuant to the federal officer removal statute to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The district court remanded to state court, citing longstanding precedent in the district that denies the government contractor defense in failure to warn cases. However, given the weight of opposing precedent and the rationales supporting the defense, the court held that the government contractor defense is available in failure to warn cases. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for the district court to consider whether Appellants have presented sufficient proof to warrant removal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1442. View "Ripley v. Foster Wheeler LLC" on Justia Law
US ex rel. Beauchamp v. Academi Training Center
Relators filed suit under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, alleging that Academi knowingly submitted false claims to the United States in connection with a government contract to provide security services in Iraq and Afghanistan. The district court dismissed the complaint pursuant to the FCA's public-disclosure bar. The court concluded that the determination of when a plaintiff’s claims arise for purposes of the public-disclosure bar is governed by the date of the first pleading to particularly allege the relevant fraud and not by the timing of any subsequent pleading. The district court thus erred in holding the second-amended complaint was the relevant pleading by which to measure the public-disclosure bar. The court further concluded that the public-disclosure bar was inapplicable in this case where the article at issue on Wired.com was not a qualifying public disclosure that triggered the bar. Relators sufficiently pled the weapons qualifications scheme in their first-amended complaint that came well before the Wired.com article. Accordingly, the court vacated the portion of the district court’s order dismissing Relators’ weapons qualification claims under the public-disclosure bar and remanded for further proceedings. View "US ex rel. Beauchamp v. Academi Training Center" on Justia Law