On August 8, the Ninth Circuit issued a key decision clarifying two important aspects of damages under the False Claims Act (FCA) in the government procurement context. Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Limits Damages in Government Procurement Case
On August 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held, as a matter of first impression, that damages in False Claims Act cases are subject to pro tanto (dollar-for-dollar) settlement offsets in cases involving multiple jointly and severally liable defendants.
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Holds that False Claims Act Damages Must Be Reduced Dollar-for-Dollar by Other Defendants’ Settlements
Having previously examined the falsity, materiality, and scienter elements of the False Claims Act (FCA) in our FCA Fundamentals series, we now turn to what damages can arise from violations of the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act imposes liability for each false claim. If the alleged scheme is broad, pervasive, or spans an extended period, this can result in many individual false claims and significant damages and penalties. It is essential for defendants to scope damages and consider potential exposure throughout a False Claims Act case, which often requires an expert consultant.
Continue Reading False Claims Act Fundamentals: Damages
On May 9, the Department of Justice (DOJ) published its Final Rule on the Civil Monetary Penalties Inflation Adjustment for 2022. This adjustment comes just five months after the last CMP Inflation Adjustment.
Continue Reading DOJ Releases 2022 FCA Civil Monetary Penalties Inflation Adjustment
The False Claims Act encourages whistleblowers to come forward when they suspect their employer is committing fraud. This post provides a general overview of the False Claims Act’s anti-retaliation provision, which protects whistleblowers from being retaliated against when they do so.
Continue Reading Anti-Retaliation under the False Claims Act
The final months of 2021 saw a flurry of noteworthy False Claims Act (FCA) activity. Among other developments, appellate courts issued important decisions concerning materiality, the government’s qui tam dismissal authority, and the application of the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause. The fourth quarter also brought news of several significant settlements, including a group of eight- and nine-figure resolutions of alleged Anti-Kickback Statute violations by pharmaceutical manufacturers and the latest example of a private equity firm paying a substantial sum to resolve FCA allegations leveled against one of its portfolio companies.
This post summarizes key developments from the year’s final quarter and identifies important takeaways for healthcare providers and government contractors.Continue Reading False Claims Act Decisions and Settlements to Know from Q4 2021
The Eleventh Circuit has become the first federal court of appeals to directly address whether the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause applies to the monetary award in a declined False Claims Act (FCA) case. And in an opinion issued December 29, 2021, the court held that it does. See U.S. ex rel. Yates v. Pinellas Hematology & Oncology, P.A., __ F. 4th __, 2021 WL 6133175 (11th Cir. 2021).
Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Becomes First Appeals Court to Hold that Excessive Fines Clause Applies in Declined FCA Cases
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) routinely encourages the subjects of False Claims Act (FCA) enforcement actions to make voluntary disclosures and fully cooperate with the government on the premise that cooperation leads to reduced liability. The DOJ recently issued guidance on the types of activities that will earn “cooperation credit.” But how much is cooperation worth, in terms of actual dollars? According to recent data and an analysis by Seton Hall Law School Professor Jacob T. Elberg, perhaps not much.
Discretion over Damages Multiplier Incentivizes Cooperation
The government’s basis for incentivizing cooperation lies primarily in its discretion in seeking damages and penalties allowable under the FCA. A defendant can be liable under the FCA for three times the amount of damages the government sustains, plus a civil penalty for each false claim. But such severe damages and penalties are not required, particularly where the government and a defendant negotiate a settlement to resolve FCA allegations without a court judgment or any finding of liability.Continue Reading Mixed Messages: DOJ Releases New FCA Cooperation Guidelines, while Study Questions Whether Cooperation Actually Garners Credit
On August 18, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the denial of a FCA defendant’s request for attorney’s fees and expenses under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) and held the government accountable for an unreasonable damages demand.
In U.S. ex. rel. Wall v. Circle C Construction, LLC, a subcontractor for the defendant, Circle C Construction, failed to pay $9,900 in wages for electrical work performed in the construction of warehouses. The subcontractor’s paid wages thus failed to meet the requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act. As a result, Circle C Construction’s subsequent statements of compliance with federal regulations, including the Davis-Bacon Act, were false.Continue Reading Sixth Circuit Reverses Denial of Attorney’s Fees and Expenses, Maintains Cost Recovery for Unreasonable Government Demands
The FCA continues to be the federal government’s primary civil enforcement tool for investigating allegations that healthcare providers or government contractors defrauded the federal government. In the coming weeks, we continue to take a closer look at recent legal developments involving the FCA. This week, we examine developments regarding penalties and damages under the FCA, which make the FCA such a potent enforcement tool for the government.
For providers facing potential FCA liability, the potential scope of exposure will continue to expand, whether driven by a nearly doubled increase in the penalties recoverable under the FCA, large negotiated settlements backed-up by statistical extrapolation of false claims, or the significant increase in relator-driven litigation in government-declined cases. Questions regarding the manner in which FCA damages should be calculated also are likely to persist.Continue Reading FCA Deeper Dive: Developments Regarding Penalties and Damages