Recent Events

The False Claims Act Today – Seattle, Wash.

Federal prosecutors in the Western District of Washington have been seeking more cases from qui tam relators, which made Seattle a fitting venue for the October 9, 2018 edition of “The False Claims Act Today,” the Qui Tam Section’s traveling tutorial on how the venerable FCA is applied in different jurisdictions.

The Emerald City was the second Ninth Circuit location to host the seminar, after a 2017 outing in Sacramento, Calif. Panelists this time included the Hon. Theresa L. Fricke, U.S. Magistrate Judge for W.D. Wash.; Kayla Stahman, Assistant U.S. Attorney for W.D. Wash.; relator’s counsel Mark Kleiman; and defense counsel Jeffrey B. Coopersmith of Davis Wright Tremaine.

Serving as M.C., as always, was R. Scott Oswald, incoming chair of our section.

After walking through the basics of FCA practice, the panel focused on Ninth Circuit decisions — including U.S. ex rel. Kelly v. Serco, Inc., 846 F.3d 325 (9th Cir. 2017), an early appellate-level application of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Escobar ruling, and Malhotra v. Steinberg, 770 F.3d 853 (9th Cir. 2014), a case from W.D. Wash. in which the Ninth Circuit ruled that testimony during a deposition in a bankruptcy proceeding can count as a “public disclosure” under the FCA.

The Qui Tam Section works with local FBA chapters to bring “The FCA Today” to locations across the U.S. To bring the series to your region, contact Scott Oswald at soswald@employmentlawgroup.com.

The False Claims Act Today – Norfolk, Va.

Lots of federal money is spent in and around the port of Norfolk, Va. — so it wasn’t shocking that the great naval city delivered a record crowd for “The False Claims Act Today,” the Qui Tam Section’s ongoing series of seminars on how the anti-fraud law is applied in different jurisdictions.

With a strong assist from the FBA’s Hampton Roads chapter, the event packed a conference room at Kaufman & Canoles on June 5, 2018, where attendees heard about local FCA practice from a panel featuring the Hon. Lawrence R. Leonard, Magistrate Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; Clare P. Wuerker, Assistant U.S. Attorney for E.D. Va.; defense counsel Patrick O'Donnell of Kaufman & Canoles; and relator’s counsel David Pearline.

The event was moderated by R. Scott Oswald, incoming chair of the Qui Tam Section.

Several of the examples were drawn from E.D. Va. cases that reached the Fourth Circuit—especially as panelists delved into the FCA’s prohibition on retaliation, the subject of whistleblower-friendly decisions in cases such as Young v. CHS Middle East, LLC, 611 F. App’x 130 (4th Cir. 2015), and Mann v. Heckler & Koch Defense, Inc., 630 F.3d 338 (4th Cir. 2010). In the latter case, the court ruled that retribution is forbidden even where a whistleblower hasn’t yet put together “all the pieces of the puzzle” in a possible fraud.

The Qui Tam Section continues to work with local FBA chapters to bring “The FCA Today” to jurisdictions across the U.S. If you’d like to bring the CLE-credit seminar to your region, contact Scott Oswald at soswald@employmentlawgroup.com.

The False Claims Act Today – Detroit, Mich.

The Eastern District of Michigan is tied as the highest-volume jurisdiction for qui tam lawsuits in the Sixth Circuit—which made Detroit a natural stop for “The False Claims Act Today,” the Qui Tam Section’s traveling seminar about how the FCA is enforced in specific regions across the U.S.

(The event visited the other Sixth District leader, the Southern District of Ohio, in 2017.)

“The FCA Today” rolled into the Motor City on May 2, 2018, offering lunch and CLE credit to attendees who listened to qui tam wisdom shared by The Honorable David M. Lawson, District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; Peter Caplan, Assistant U.S. Attorney and chief of the Affirmative Litigation Unit for E.D. Mich.; defense counsel Abe Singer; and relator’s counsel David Haron.

The discussion was emceed by local attorney Michael J. Asher and by R. Scott Oswald, vice chair of the Qui Tam Section.

Panelists reviewed the basics of qui tam law with a special focus on new Sixth Circuit cases such as U.S. ex rel. Crockett v Complete Fitness Rehabilitation, Inc., 721 F. App’x. 451 (6th Cir. 2018), in which the court held that, unlike FCA fraud claims, FCA retaliation claims don’t require plaintiffs to meet the heightened pleading standard of Rule 9(b) in order to avoid dismissal.

The event was held in cooperation with the FBA’s Eastern District of Michigan Chapter. Scott Oswald continues to work with local FBA chapters to bring “The FCA Today” to cities across the U.S.—including, later in 2018, Houston and Seattle. If you’re interested in bringing the series to your region, contact him at soswald@employmentlawgroup.com.

The False Claims Act Today – Montgomery, Ala.

Montgomery, Ala., was the first stop in 2018 for “The False Claims Act Today,” the Qui Tam Section’s ongoing series of seminars that examine the real-life application of the FCA in specific jurisdictions across the U.S.

The March 7 luncheon event offered CLE credit and a first for the travelling symposium: A discussion that featured not just one local Assistant U.S. Attorney (the usual number) but three — one from each of Alabama’s federal districts.

AUSAs Jerusha Adams (M.D. Ala.), Deidre Colson (S.D. Ala.), and Don B. Long III (N.D. Ala.) were joined by The Honorable W. Keith Watkins, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, along with defense counsel Thomas K. Potter, III of Burr & Furman and relator’s counsel Andrew Brashier of Beasley Allen.

Panelists surveyed the state of FCA law, including recent cases in the Eleventh Circuit such as U.S. ex rel. Marsteller v. Tilton, 880 F.3d 1302 (11th Cir. 2018), in which a three-judge panel agreed that — in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016 Escobar ruling — a claim of fraud isn’t disallowed just because it relies on “implied certification.”

The three AUSAs also compared their differing approaches to qui tam cases, from the cooperation they seek from whistleblowers to how they weigh whether to intervene in each case — and in the process they proved once again that, to paraphrase Tip O’Neill, all FCA enforcement is local.

The event, staged with the help of the FBA’s Montgomery chapter, was particularly striking for its location: The Frank M. Johnson Jr. Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, which houses the balconied courtroom in which storied cases such as Browder v. Gayle—which delivered victory to the Montgomery bus boycotters who were outraged by the arrest of Rosa Parks—were argued.

The Qui Tam Section is working with other local FBA chapters to bring “The FCA Today” to jurisdictions across the U.S. If you’re interested in bringing the series to your region, contact Scott Oswald, the section’s vice chair, at soswald@employmentlawgroup.com

The False Claims Act Today- Cincinnati, Ohio.


The Qui Tam Section completed its 2017 schedule of seminars on “The False Claims Act Today” in Cincinnati on October 10, 2017, as distinguished local panelists shared their insights on FCA practice in the Southern District of Ohio (S.D. Ohio).

The luncheon event was supported by the FBA’s Cincinnati chapter. Speakers included James B. Helmer, a giant of the qui tam bar and author of a leading treatise on FCA litigation; Erin Campbell, a shareholder in Mr. Helmer’s firm, which represents FCA relators; the Hon. Michael R. Barrett, a judge of the U.S. District for S.D. Ohio; Matthew J. Horwitz, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the district; and William A. Posey, who represents FCA defendants—including one of the parties in the landmark FCA case of Allison Engine Co. Inc. v. United States ex rel. Sanders, where he battled Mr. Helmer up to the Supreme Court.

As always in this ongoing series of seminars—for which Continuing Legal Education credit is available—panelists walked through the history and recent development of the FCA, including a review of precedents in the relevant U.S. court of appeals, here the Sixth Circuit.

Among the cases discussed: Prather v. Brookdale Senior Living Communities, Inc., 838 F.3d 750 (6th Cir. 2016), the first time the Sixth Circuit allowed an FCA case to proceed based on a relator’s pleading of personal knowledge that supported “a strong inference that a [false] claim was submitted.”

The panel’s government representatives offered valuable practice tips. Judge Barrett, for instance, discussed his conditions for granting a seal extension, while Mr. Horwitz outlined the types of FCA claim his office is most likely to support—with a particular focus on claims he can use as “the tip of the spear” in the U.S. Attorney’s campaign against Ohio’s opioid crisis.

The speakers also participated in a lively Q+A period with the attendees and moderator Scott Oswald from The Employment Law Group, P.C., who is vice chair of the Qui Tam Section and organizer of the seminar series.

The Section continues to work with local FBA chapters to bring “The False Claims Act Today” to jurisdictions across the U.S. Locations for the first half of 2018 will include Montgomery, Ala.; Detroit; and Norfolk, Va.

If you’re interested in bringing the series to your region, contact Scott Oswald at soswald@employmentlawgroup.com.

The False Claims Act Today- Buffalo, N.Y.


On September 19, 2017, Buffalo became the latest stop for “The False Claims Act Today,” the Qui Tam Section’s ongoing seminar series that offers a region-by-region view of FCA practice via discussion with local attorneys, judges, and government officials—all for Continuing Legal Education credit.

The panel featured heavy hitters including the Hon. Frank P. Geraci, Jr., Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for W.D.N.Y.; Kathleen Lynch, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the district; Brian Feldman, a former AUSA who now represents FCA defendants; and Randall Fox, formerly of the New York Attorney General’s office and now representing FCA relators.

Attendees got a quick primer on the FCA; heard about recent developments in the Second Circuit; learned the factors weighed by AUSA Lynch in deciding whether to intervene in qui tam cases; listened to insights from Chief Judge Geraci about his approach to sealed cases; and witnessed a free-wheeling panel discussion that offered tips on all sides of FCA practice.

After the formal program, panelists engaged in a Q+A period with the attendees and moderator Scott Oswald from The Employment Law Group, P.C., who organizes these seminars and is vice chair of the Qui Tam Section.

The Section is teaming up with local FBA chapters to offer additional sessions of “The False Claims Act Today” in jurisdictions across the U.S. Events for 2018 are already in the works. If you are interested in bringing the series to your region, contact Scott Oswald at soswald@employmentlawgroup.com.

The False Claims Act Today- Sacramento


On May 15, 2017, the Qui Tam Section continued its CLE series “The False Claims Act Today,” which convenes local attorneys, judges, and government officials to discuss the venerable federal statute and its practice in their jurisdiction—and offers Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit for those who attend.

The second in this ongoing series was hosted in the Eastern District of California with tremendous support from the FBA’s Sacramento chapter.  The event featured experienced practitioners from both sides of the bench, as well as the local ACE coordinator and a federal judge.  Attendees learned how the US Attorney’s office vets False Claims Act (FCA) cases and ultimately decides whether to intervene. The CLE also provided a primer on the FCA; a discussion of important cases, including recent developments in the Ninth Circuit; practice tips; and a panel discussion that covered all sides of FCA practice.

Blanca Fromm Young of Munger Tolles & Olson LLP represented defense counsel in a discussion of the statutory framework of the FCA and obstacles for bringing an FCA claim, including the heightened pleading standard. Brooks Cutter of Cutter Law P.C. represented relator’s counsel in a discussion on the history of the FCA, including theories of liability and the elements parties must meet. Colleen Kennedy, Assistant U.S. Attorney and ACE Coordinator for the Eastern District of California, provided practice tips and explained how her office handles intake, investigation, and litigation of FCA cases. And Judge Kimberly Mueller provided invaluable insight into the Court’s approach to sealed cases— including factors she considers when deciding whether to grant seal extensions.

After the formal presentation, panelists engaged in a question-and-answer period with the attendees and moderator Scott Oswald from The Employment Law Group, P.C. Lunch was provided and attendees earned 1.5 CLE credits for the event.

The Qui Tam Section is planning additional sessions of “The False Claims Act Today” in jurisdictions across the U.S. in conjunction with local FBA chapters. Events already are scheduled for Buffalo in September 2017 and Cincinnati in October 2017. Plans for CLE events for 2018 are already in the works. If you are interested in bringing the series to your region, contact Scott Oswald, the Section’s CLE chair, at soswald@employmentlawgroup.com.

 

 

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