False Claims Act Lawyers Move to Dismiss
Boston false claims act lawyers, led by Barry Pollack, won dismissal of qui tam case in Maryland.
On March 6, 2018, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland dismissed a qui tam action brought by a former employee against a PSD client. The plaintiff claimed that she was fired after reporting Form I-9 deficiencies to her supervisor. In a 21-page opinion, the court rejected all claims.
The court dismissed Count I, which attempted to plead a violation of the False Claims Act. The court found a lack of sufficient allegations of falsity and materiality. In doing so, the court agreed with defendants that it could consider the forms at issue. Defendants submitted blank versions of the forms to the motion to dismiss.
The court noted: “Because Potter has not contested the authenticity of these forms and they are integral to Potter’s Complaint, the Court considers them.” In its analysis, the court explained that, while allegations of false certifications of compliance can suffice , “the compliance at issue must be ‘a prerequisite’ to securing the government funding ….’” As a result of the limited items that CASA certified, the court found that Potter failed to allege a false certification. Also, the court held that, “[b]ecause the Complaint does not show how CASA’s failure to disclose its 1-9 noncompliance would have influenced the government’s funding decisions, Potter has not adequately demonstrated materiality.” The court dismissed the case without prejudice in light of Potter’s complaint predating a recent Supreme Court decision. But the court noted skepticism about Potter’s ability to state a claim.
Also, the court dismissed Count II, which attempted to plead a conspiracy to violate the FCA, agreeing with defendants. The court stated that “Potter’s conspiracy claim turns on the same factual basis … as her substantive FCA claim.”
A copy of the decision can be found here: 180307-opinion-dismissing-claims
Retaliation Claim Dismissed
In its decision, the court also dismissed Count III, which attempted to plead a retaliation claim under the FCA. The court found that Potter based her retaliation claim on reporting Form I-9 deficiencies. This did not trigger the statutory protection because she did not allege retaliation for raising potential FCA claims. In addition, the court found that Potter’s allegations failed to show an objectively reasonable belief that a claim under the FCA might proceed. Again the court allowed Potter to try to replead., but again expressed skepticism. The court cautioned that “according to Defendants’ Reply, Potter’s DOJ disclosure focused on CASA’s supposed violations of immigration law rather than fraud under the FCA.” The court continued, “to the extent Defendants are correct, Potter cannot cure her FCA retaliation claim ….”
New York and Boston False Claims Act Lawyers at PSD
PSD is a litigation law firm with a national focus and lawyers in Boston and New York. PSD’s areas of focus include private equity and hedge fund litigation, healthcare matters, white collar criminal defense, employment disputes. PSD also represents clients in probate court cases including family law, wills, trusts, and international child abduction/custody matters. In this matter, PSD’s Boston false claims act lawyers won dismissal of qui tam action. For further information about Boston false claims act lawyers, visit PSD’s website.