- Labor and Employment Alert: SEC Gives Employers 265,000 Reasons to Revise Their Separation AgreementsThe Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken an increasingly hardline on employers’ confidentiality agreements and that its regulators are on the lookout for policies that impede an employee’s ability to report activities to regulator
- Client Alert: CMS Final Rule Clarifies and Eases Obligation to Report and Return Medicare OverpaymentsOn February 11, 2016, Medicare regulators issued a final rule that relaxes the obligations for doctors and hospitals to report and return Medicare overpayments (RIN 0938-AQ58, CMS-6037-F).
- Whistleblower Defense Alert: D.C. Circuit Upholds Assertion of Privilege as to Internal Investigation Documents in FCA SuitOn Tuesday, August 11, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit released a decision upholding an assertion of privilege by Kellogg Brown and Root, Inc. (KBR) over internal investigation documents in a FCA suit alleging kickbacks and overbilling on Iraq war subcontracts.
- Whistleblower Defense Alert: Sixth Circuit Affirms Importance of Government Witnesses in Materiality AnalysisA recent Sixth Circuit opinion provides defendants a valuable roadmap for using government witness testimony to defeat False Claims Act (FCA) claims on materiality grounds at the summary judgment stage. In U.S. ex rel. American Systems Consulting, Inc. v. ManTech Advanced Systems Int’l Inc., Case No. 14-3269 (6th Cir.), the court rejected the relator’s argument that materiality decisions should be left to a jury. Instead, the court expressly held that “a judge may decide as a matter of law whether a misrepresentation was material under the FCA.”
- Whistleblower Defense Alert: Fourth Circuit’s Opinion Shows Influence of Government’s Decision to Intervene on Court’s Determination of MaterialityOn January 8, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reinstated the government’s False Claims Act (FCA) claims in United States v. Triple Canopy, Inc., No. 13-2190. In reversing the district court’s dismissal of the government’s case, the Fourth Circuit highlighted, both explicitly and implicitly, the importance of the government’s decision to intervene in the case.
- Whistleblower Defense Alert: District Court Imposes $1.6 Million Sanction Against Relators for Violating the FCA SealEarlier this week, Judge Amy Totenberg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia imposed significant monetary sanctions against a pair of relators who blatantly and repeatedly violated the seal order in a pending qui tam action, United States ex rel. Bibby v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Case No. 1:06-CV-0547-AT.
- Whistleblower Defense Alert: Department of Justice Announces Third Straight Year of Record-Breaking False Claims Act RecoveriesAccording to a recent Department of Justice press release regarding annual False Claims Act (FCA) recoveries, FCA recoveries continue to skyrocket, in keeping with the trend in recent years. 2014 marks the third straight year in which the Department of Justice has announced a record-setting annual recovery.
- There is good news for FCA defendants out of the First Circuit: According to a recent decision, settlement payments in excess of the government’s single damages are tax deductible if the defendant can show that the excess sums are compensatory, rather than punitive. The Internal Revenue Code allows businesses to deduct its “ordinary and necessary expenses” but not “any fine or similar penalty paid to a government for the violation of any law.” Applying this guidance to FCA settlements is complicated by the FCA’s treble damages provisions, which clearly implicate a punitive damages component.
- Whistleblower Defense Alert: D.C. Circuit Grants Writ of Mandamus and Protects Privilege of Internal Corporate InvestigationsLast week, the D.C. Circuit provided good news to defense contractors, health care providers and all other corporate entities doing business with the government. In a forceful opinion, the court overruled a trial court decision that portended disastrous consequences for privileged internal investigations by corporate legal departments.
- Whistleblower Defense Alert: The Supreme Court Will Review Fourth Circuit Decision that Weakened the False Claims Act’s Statute of Limitations and First-to-File BarToday, the Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari in Kellogg Brown & Root Servs., Inc. v. United States ex rel. Carter. The petition presented two questions: (1) whether the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA) applies to claims of civil fraud brought by qui tam relators, and (2) whether the False Claims Act’s (FCA) first-to-file rule is an absolute bar or whether it permits subsequent actions so long as the first-filed action had been dismissed on non-merits grounds prior to filing of the subsequent action.
- The Third Circuit’s recent decision in U.S. ex rel. Foglia v. Renal Ventures Mgmt., LLC, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 10549 (3d. Cir. June 6, 2014), evens the circuit split regarding whether a FCA plaintiff must identify at least one representative false claim before being granted a ticket to discovery—a troubling development for anyone who does business with the federal government and therefore runs the risk of dealing with an FCA lawsuit.
- Whistleblower Defense Alert: Defeating a Whistleblower’s Cursory Allegations of Scienter in FCA Cases Involving a Defendant’s Good Faith Interpretation of a Regulation or ContractA recent decision dismissing a whistleblower’s complaint with prejudice is good news for companies facing a False Claims Act (FCA) case that turns on the interpretation of a regulation or contractual provision. In U.S. ex rel. Thompson v. Honeywell Int’l, Inc., Case No. CV 12-2214-JAK (C.D. Cal.), the court articulated a clear and defendant-friendly formulation of the pleading standard for scienter in such cases.
- Labor and Employment Law E-Alert: New Ohio Supreme Court Decision Sharply Limits Coolidge Case - Workers' Compensation Claimants Not Immune from Absenteeism Policies