Tag Archives: qui tam

Philosophy Explains How Legal Ethics Turn Lawyers Into Liars

I am a fan of the American court system. There is no natural law requiring people to resolve their differences by asking third parties to represent them and advocate on their behalf in front of impartial decision-makers. The folks in classical Athens and Rome thought it was a good idea, the Europeans rediscovered the practice in the Middle Ages, and the adversarial system of law has been consistently practiced by England, and then America, ever since.   Since the classical time, there have always been restrictions on lawyers intended to keep them honest. Most of those "restrictions" have amounted to ... Continue Reading

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The Difference Between Fraud And Mistake Under The False Claims Act

The False Claim Act envisions a broad definition under 31 U.S.C. § 3729(b) for when a defendant "knowingly" makes a false or fraudulent claim to the federal government: (b) Knowing and Knowingly Defined.— For purposes of this section, the terms “knowing” and “knowingly” mean that a person, with respect to information— (1) has actual knowledge of the information; (2) acts in deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information; or (3) acts in reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information, and no proof of specific intent to defraud is required. The burden of persuasion for proving ... Continue Reading

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False Claims Act Lawsuit Against Oracle For Overcharging On GSA Contracts Unsealed

At Business Week, it seems Oracle isn't living up to its namesake: Oracle Corp., the world’s second- biggest software maker, faces a lawsuit brought by a whistleblower and the U.S. Justice Department claiming it overcharged the government by tens of millions of dollars. As the Complaint summarizes, This lawsuit is based on a scheme by Defendant Oracle Corporation ("Oracle") to defraud the United States by failing to disclose deep discounts Oracle offered to commercial customers when Oracle sold software products to federal government agencies through a General Services Administration Multiple Award Schedule. Oracle's failure to disclose the discounts it offered ... Continue Reading

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More False Claims Act Smoke And Mirrors To Deny Whistleblower Awards

Via the WSJ Law Blog, Amy Kolz at The American Lawyer has a new article about the False Claims Act: "[FCA cases] are a big gamble," says Piacentile's counsel, former Boies, Schiller & Flexner partner David Stone of Stone & Magnanini, who cites cost-benefit analyses and good relationships with prosecutors as essential to his qui tam practice. "That's why you have to know what you're doing. Otherwise you can be in a case for ten years and not get anything." But there is a darker perspective on Joseph Piacentile. Unlike most qui tam relators, he doesn't blow the whistle as an ... Continue Reading

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Four States Join False Claims Act Whistleblower Suit Over Substandard PVC Pipes

As The Recorder reported, Four states and dozens of California cities and water districts have joined a qui tam lawsuit, unveiled this week, seeking millions of dollars in damages against a company for allegedly supplying customers with substandard PVC pipe. The suit, brought against J-M Manufacturing Co. and its former parent company, Formosa Plastics Corp., alleges that J-M sold PVC pipe that had tensile strength below industry standards, and that the company deceived customers by choosing stronger samples for independent certification of its product. The suit also contends that under the company president, Walter Wang, it "implemented a series of ... Continue Reading

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E.D.Pa. Holds False Claims Act Relator Cannot Toll Statute Of Limitations If Government Did Not Intervene

Another interesting statutory construction case arising from allegations scientists at Cornell University Medical College and Thomas Jefferson University "misrepresented the findings of their DNA research when they applied for National Institute of Health research grants and did not correct the misrepresentations on subsequent progress reports and renewal applications." Problem is, the grants in question were filed back in the 1990s. As Judge Savage recounts, The [False Claims Act] prohibits 'any person from making false or fraudulent claims for payment to the United States.' Graham County Soil & Water Conservation Dist. v. United States ex rel. Wilson, 545 U.S. 409, 411, ... Continue Reading

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Issues and Briefs in the Major Business Cases in the Supreme Court’s 2009-2010 Term

Business Week points us to the major cases. As Litigation & Trial is a legal, rather than a business, blog, I'm going to take their list of cases but replace their description of each with the actual legal issue at stake, along with links to SCOTUSWiki, which hosts all of the relevant briefs for your reading pleasure: Bilski v. Kappos: Whether a “process” must be tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or transform a particular article into a different state or thing (”machine-or-transformation” test), to be eligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and whether the “machine-or-transformation” test for ... Continue Reading

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“The Boy Who Heard Too Much” – An Incredible Social Engineering Story

At Rolling Stone: Weigman's auditory skills had always been central to his exploits, the means by which he manipulated the phone system. Now he gave Lynd a first-hand display of his powers. At one point during the visit, Lynd's cellphone rang. "I can't talk to you right now," the agent told the caller. "I'm out doing something." When he hung up, Weigman turned to him from across the room. "Oh," the kid asked, "is that Billy Smith from Verizon?" Lynd was stunned. William Smith was a fraud investigator with Verizon who had been working with him on the swatting case. ... Continue Reading

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Why False Claims Act Whistleblower Cases Need Awards Over $50 Million

Via @walterolson, CQ Politics reported yesterday: The Senate rejected a bid Thursday to impose new limits on whistleblower awards as it moved toward passage of legislation to beef up the government’s ability to combat financial fraud. By 31-61, the Senate rejected an amendment by Jon Kyl , R-Ariz., that sought to set a $50 million maximum on the amount that a whistleblower could receive through a False Claims Act lawsuit to recoup taxpayer funds lost to fraud. Currently, awards can reach 30 percent of the total recovered for the federal government, if a judge approves that much. Kyl said whistleblowers who ... Continue Reading

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