FCA NOW

Government Contractor Awarded Attorney Fees for Defending Against “Unreasonable” FCA Claim

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently concluded that a contractor should obtain an award of attorney fees for having to defend against an “unreasonable” False Claims Act (“FCA”) suit.  In United States ex. rel. Wall v. Circle C. Constr. LLC, the Government sued a contractor that built warehouses for the U.S. Army. During construction, it was alleged that the contractor’s subcontractor paid two electricians...

Eighth Circuit Rejects Sovereign Immunity Defense to FCA Qui Tam Action

Betsy Sellers

Last month the Eighth Circuit considered and rejected an Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity defense to a qui tam action under the False Claims Act.  In United States ex rel. Fields v. Bi-State Development Agency, No. 16-3783, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13925 (8th Cir. August 1, 2017), a former employee of Bi-State alleged that the defendant interstate compact entity raised funds and required its employees to...

Consultant Guilty of Illegal Kickbacks By “Referring” Doctors’ Patients to Another Medical Provider in Exchange for Remuneration

RJ Zayed

Under 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(1)(A) it is a felony for a physician to solicit or receive a kickback “in return for referring” a Medicaid or Medicare patient to another medical provider. But as a recent decision by the Eighth Circuit in United States v. Iqbal demonstrates, physicians are not the only ones capable of making illegal referrals under the statute—consultants can, too. Defendant Iqbal was a...

Genesis Healthcare Settlement with Federal Government

Alissa Smith

On June 16, 2017, The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced a $53.6 million dollar settlement with Genesis Healthcare Inc. (“Genesis”) over six federal whistleblower lawsuits alleging that subsidiaries of the rehabilitation and transitional care provider violated the False Claims Act (“FCA”). The original qui tam plaintiffs, former employees of companies acquired by Genesis, will receive a combined $9.67 million dollars in recovery. The settlement resolved...

Court Rules that “Upon Information And Belief” Allegations of FCA Violations Leveled Against Competitor Fail to Withstand Pleading Requirements

Peter R. Mayer

A Federal court in Ohio recently dismissed a qui tam lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act by Kustom Products, Inc. against Hupp & Associates, Inc., a defense contractor, and in so doing provided judicial treatment of the common practice of alleging facts “upon information and belief.”  United States ex rel. Kustom Prods. v. Hupp & Assocs., No. 2:15-cv-03101, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72814 (S.D. Ohio May...

CMS Issues New SRDP Forms

Laura B. Morgan

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued new Self-Referral Disclosure Protocol (“SRDP”) forms, and, beginning June 1, 2017, these SRDP forms will be mandatory for those parties submitting voluntary self-disclosures of actual or potential violations of the federal physician self-referral law (the “Stark Law”) through the SRDP. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act established the SRDP, giving providers and suppliers that may...

Energy & Process Corp. Settles Whistleblower Action Related to Construction of Nuclear Waste Treatment Facility

Erin Conti

On Monday, April 24, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Energy & Process Corp. agreed to pay $4.6 million to settle False Claims Act allegations concerning the construction of a large nuclear waste treatment facility in South Carolina. The allegations came to light as part of a whistleblower action brought by a former employee of a principal E&P subcontractor in late 2013. The federal...

Court Examines Standard for Approval of Settlement of Qui Tam Over a Relator’s Objection

Betsy Sellers

The False Claims Act (FCA) allows plaintiffs/relators to bring qui tam actions, in which the government may then elect to intervene.  The FCA also provides that “[t]he Government may settle a [qui tam] action with the defendant notwithstanding the objections of the person initiating the action if the court determines, after a hearing, that the proposed settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable under all the...

Supreme Court Applies Escobar to Reinstate Implied Certification Suit Against Bank Based on Compliance With Fed Rules

Erik Ruda

On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, the Supreme Court summarily vacated the judgment in Bishop v. Wells Fargo & Co. and remanded the case to the Second Circuit in light of the Court’s recent decision in Universal Health Servs. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, which recognized the implied certification liability theory in FCA suits. In Bishop, the plaintiffs originally brought FCA claims against Wells Fargo,...

Alleging Improper Use of Funds Legitimately Obtained from the Government Insufficient to State FCA Retaliation Claim

Ben Kappelman

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas has dismissed an FCA retaliation claim brought by a nurse who claimed to have blown the whistle on misuse of funds at a hospital that received significant federal revenue. In Endicott v. Oakbend Medical Center, the nurse alleged she was fired after she complained that several hospital executives were using hospital employee time to enrich...