FCA NOW

A New Circuit Split: FCA Protects Former Employees from Post-Employment Retaliation in the Sixth

Briana Al Taqatqa

Over a vigorous dissent last week, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit vacated a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and held the False Claims Act’s anti-retaliation provision protects former employees alleging post-termination retaliation. United States ex rel. Felten v. William Beaumont Hosp., No. 20-1002, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 9387 (6th Cir. Mar....

Omnicare and CVS’s “Novel” Argument Fails to Defeat FCA Claims

Leyla Bari

On March 19, 2021, a Southern District of New York judge denied a motion to dismiss a False Claims Act (“FCA”) suit alleging that Omnicare—a subsidiary of CVS Health Corp.—“dispensed drugs based on invalid prescriptions to potentially tens of thousands of individuals living at more than 3,000 residential facilities.” See United States ex rel. Bassan v. Omnicare, Inc., No. 1:15-cv-4179 (CM), 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS...

False Claims Act Anti-Retaliation Claim Leveled at PPP Recipient

Roxanna Gonzalez

A former employee of Great Dane Petroleum Contractors, Inc. a full-service Pollutant Control and General Contractor based in Florida, alleged in a recently-filed lawsuit that the company misused nearly $3 million in Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) funds.  See Rucker v. Great Dane Petroleum Contractors, Inc., No. 21-cv-207 (M.D. Fla. Mar. 10, 2021).  As another wave of applications for PPP funds come in, employers must remain...

Supreme Court Declines to Resolve Circuit Split Regarding Standard for “Falsity” in FCA Claims

Jack Huerter

On February 22, 2021, the United States Supreme Court declined to resolve a circuit split regarding the proper standard under which False Claims Act (“FCA”) claims in the medical context should be reviewed. See Care Alternatives v. United States, No. 20-371, 2021 U.S. LEXIS 915 (Feb. 22, 2021). The Court’s decision leaves open the question of what constitutes “falsity” under the FCA and opens the...

Tread Carefully: District of Utah Grants Motion For Attorneys’ Fees After Unsupported FCA Claim

Samuel F. B. Audley

On February 3, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah granted a motion for attorneys’ fees against Plaintiff Kelly Sorenson (“Sorenson”), finding that the claims Sorenson asserted against his former employer under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) were “clearly frivolous” and compensable under 31 U.S.C. § 3730(d)(4). United States ex rel. Sorenson v. Wadsworth Bros. Constr. Co., No. 2:16-cv-875, 2021 U.S. Dist....

Justice Department Annual Release Shows Decreased FCA Recoveries But Increased FCA Matters in FY2020, Suggesting Likely Uptick in 2021

Eric Weisenburger

On January 14, 2021, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued its annual press release highlighting its recoveries from False Claims Act (“FCA”) enforcement over the last fiscal year.  Total recoveries in FY2020 exceeded $2.2 billion, with the majority—$1.8 billion—of those recoveries coming from the healthcare industry.  These totals are down substantially from FY2019, in which total recoveries exceeded $3 billion with $2.6 billion...

Borrowers and Banks Beware: The New Year Brings the Nation’s First False Claims Act Settlement for Paycheck Protection Program Fraud

Kirk Schuler

On January 12, 2021, the Eastern District of California entered into a civil settlement with a Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) borrower and its CEO to resolve allegations of fraud.  The settlement stemmed from a $350,000 PPP loan that SlideBelts Inc., an internet retail company, received even though it was a prohibited borrower as a debtor in bankruptcy.  This is the first civil settlement for PPP-related...

In the First FCA Appellate Case of 2021, the Fourth Circuit Affirms the Dismissal of Relators’ Claims for Lack of Scienter and Failing to Engage in Protected Activity

Kirk Schuler

On January 8, 2021, in the first appellate decision of the year addressing a False Claims Act case, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the summary judgment dismissal of relators’ claims that a manufacturer of allergenic extracts violated the FCA.  Skibo v. Greer Labs., 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 508 (Jan. 8, 2021) (per curiam). Like most FCA cases that arrive in the United States Courts of Appeals,...

DOJ Demonstrates Continued Focus on Opioid Crisis with $600 Million Criminal and Civil Settlement Against Indivior Solutions, Indivior Inc., and Indivior plc

Vanessa J. Szalapski

The Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) most recent settlement with Indivior Solutions, Inc., Indivior Inc., and Indivior plc (together, “Indivior”) demonstrates not only that the DOJ is continuing its pursuit of claims and settlements related to the opioid crisis, but also that the DOJ is searching for creative penalties beyond large monetary payouts. In a July 24, 2020 press release, the DOJ announced a $600 million...

Another Escobar Exemplar: District of New Jersey Finds Materiality Lacking

Lindsey Schmidt

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed a qui tam action against Defendants Pioneer Education, LLC, Pioneer Education Manager, Inc., Jolie Health & Beauty Academy, and Joseph Visconti (collectively, “the Academy”) alleging violations of the False Claims Act (“FCA”), 31 U.S.C. § 3729-33. United States ex rel. Lampkin v. Pioneer Educ., LLC, No. 16-cv-1817, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136022...