Plaintiffs filed a qui tam action under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729 et seq., claiming that State Farm submitted false claims to the government for payment on flood policies arising out of damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. On appeal, plaintiffs primarily challenged the district court's discovery ruling and State Farm principally challenged the jury verdict. The court concluded that the district court's denial of plaintiffs' request for additional discovery after the verdict in their favor was an abuse of discretion because it affected plaintiffs' substantial rights and therefore, the court reversed the district court’s decision. However, the court affirmed the district court’s decisions with respect to the seal violations, subject matter jurisdiction, and State Farm’s motion for judgment as a matter of law. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Rigsby v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co." on Justia Law
The United States filed suit under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729 et seq., alleging that Bollinger knowingly submitted false statements and false claims for payment to the government in relation to a government contract under which Bollinger was to modify eight vessels owned by the Coast Guard. The district court granted Bollinger's motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) and the United States appealed. The court concluded that the United States alleged sufficient facts in its complaint to allow a factfinder to infer that Bollinger either knew that their statements were false or had a reckless disregard of their truth or falsity. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Bollinger Shipyards, Inc." on Justia Law
Posted in: Government Contracts
Relator filed a qui tam action on behalf of the United States alleging that defendant telecommunication companies violated the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729, while bidding for and being awarded contracts to install and operate communications networks for school districts and libraries throughout South Texas. Defendant filed an interlocutory appeal of the denial of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under the FCA. This case decides when the Government "provides any portion of" requested money, as to trigger the protection of the False Claims Act, a statute that shadows every aspect of the administrative state. Because there are no federal funds involved in the program, and USAC is not itself a government entity, the court agreed that the Government does not provide any portion of the requested money under the FCA. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.View "Shupe v. Cisco Systems, Inc., et al." on Justia Law
Posted in: Government Contracts
These appeals concerned a suit filed under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729 et seq., and two bankruptcy proceedings. The district court concluded that the bankruptcy trustee had exclusive standing to assert the FCA claims at issue because those claims belonged to the bankruptcy estate. The court agreed with the district court that only the trustee had standing to prosecute the FCA lawsuit; affirmed the district court's dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6); and concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for reconsideration. View "Westbrook Navigator L.L.C., et al v. Navistar, Inc., et al." on Justia Law
EMS appealed the district court's order denying its motion to remand its suit against the City to the state court from which it was removed. The court concluded that removal was improper because none of the claims in EMS's state court civil action satisfied either the federal question or diversity requirements of original jurisdiction; the district court's prior jurisdiction over the claims asserted in City v. CLECO, which were now dismissed, did not vest the district court with jurisdiction over EMS's claims; regardless of how factually intertwined with EMS's suit, the district court's retention of jurisdiction over the post-settlement matters could not substitute for original jurisdiction for the purpose of supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1367 or removal under section 1441, given that EMS's claims were not asserted in the same proceeding as the claims in City v. CLECO; and, if Baccus v. Parrish retained any precedential value, it was distinguishable and inapposite in this instance. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Energy Mgmt. Servs. v. City of Alexandria" on Justia Law
Posted in: Constitutional Law, Energy, Oil & Gas Law, Government Contracts, U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
KBR allegedly accepted kickbacks from two companies angling to win subcontracts on KBR's prime contract to service American armed forces in military theaters across the world. At issue on appeal was whether, and if so under what conditions, the Anti-Kickback Act's (AKA), 41 U.S.C. 55(a)(1), civil suit provision extended vicarious liability to an employer for the acts of its employees. The court discerned no persuasive evidence of congressional intent in section 55(a) to vary from the common law norm of permitting vicarious liability for employee actions taken under apparent authority. The court reversed the district court's ruling granting KBR's motion to dismiss the government's AKA claim, concluding that the district court erred in finding that section 55(a)(1) did not allow the government to allege vicarious liability. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc." on Justia Law
X Tech filed suit against Geotest, alleging breach of an exclusive teaming agreement to submit a teamed bid on a USAF solicitation for testing equipment by teaming with another partner, Raytheon, on a competing bid. The jury found that Geotest breached an agreement with X Tech to "exclusively team to jointly pursue" the USAF solicitation and the district court entered judgment in favor of X Tech. The court concluded that the district court properly disposed of the parties' motions for directed verdict; concluded that the evidence proffered at trial was sufficient to support the jury's findings; affirmed the judgment of the district court and remanded to allow the district court to adjudge and award appellate attorney's fees; and denied X Tech's opposed motion to file a supplemental reply brief and Geotest's motion to file a supplemental brief as moot. View "X Technologies, Inc. v. Marvin Test Systems, Inc." on Justia Law
This case arose out of a government contract to dredge a portion of the Houston-Galveston navigation channel. At issue was the scope of a corporate officer's personal liability under 31 U.S.C. 3713 (the Priority Statute). The court concluded that the decision of a corporate officer rendered pursuant to the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (CDA), 41 U.S.C. 7101 et seq., was a "claim" within the meaning of the Priority Statute; a debtor's representative had "notice" of that claim, necessary to trigger personal liability under the Priority Statute, when he had actual knowledge of its existence, whether or not he consulted counsel as to its validity; no genuine issue of material fact remained, and the government was entitled to judgment as a matter of law; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in striking the affirmative defenses and denying the motion for reconsideration. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Renda" on Justia Law
Defendant (principal contractor) sub-contracted with Stevens for work on military personnel housing at the Army base at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Stevens retained plaintiff to perform re-roofing. Plaintiff completed satisfactory work at the instruction of defendant and Stevens, but was not paid in full. Plaintiff originally sued under the Miller Act, 40 U.S.C. 3133, which provides federal question jurisdiction Plaintiff conceded at trial that defendants failed to secure a bond as required under the Miller Act. The federal claim was dismissed. The district court entered judgment in favor of plaintiff on a Louisiana-law breach of contract claims and allowed plaintiff to amend to allege diversity that existed at the time of the original complaint. The court declined to consider defendants' newly submitted evidence concerning diversity. The Fifth Circuit vacated. The district court may not have had proper subject-matter jurisdiction from the instant plaintiff filed; it incorrectly held that it had discretion to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state claims, assuming that it had proper subject-matter jurisdiction under the Miller Act. The Miller Act claim was too attenuated to establish proper federal question jurisdiction and could not support supplemental jurisdiction.
This case concerned a contract between the parties where defendant was hired to dredge a portion of the Houston Ship Channel and to construct containment levees and other structures at a disposal facility for dredge material. Defendant subsequently appealed the district court's denial of its motion for partial dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and motion for partial summary judgment. Defendant also appealed the district court's grant of the government's motion for judgment on the pleadings. The court held that the government's suit to collect the money owed by defendant was timely because it was filed within six years of the contracting officer's decision; because defendant had failed to show its set-off claim "beyond peradventure," the court affirmed the district court's denial of its motion for partial summary judgment on this claim; and the district court had subject matter jurisdiction over the government's claim for repayment it had overpaid defendant and the district court properly granted judgment in the government's favor on that claim. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court was affirmed.