Published: August 15, 2016

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced that it had levied a $265,000 penalty against an Atlanta-based company, claiming the company’s severance agreements undercut its whistleblower program. By signing the severance agreements, outgoing employees agreed to waive recovery of potential whistleblower awards.  According to the SEC, these severance agreements violated Rule 21F-17, which prohibits impeding someone from telling the SEC about possible securities law violations.

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Published: February 16, 2016

On February 4, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected the “tainted claim” theory of damages under the False Claims Act where money damages alone can cure a breach of contract.  The court in U.S. ex rel Wall v.

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Published: July 23, 2015

In a matter of first impression, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a relator cannot partake of proceeds from an FCA action if he has been convicted of criminal conduct arising from his role in the fraud.  A CH2M Hill employee, Carl Schroeder, participated in fraudulent over-billing practices along with many of his colleagues. Schroeder pled guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit fraud.  After initial interviews by the U.S.

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Published: July 14, 2014

In Brief:

  • Ambiguous contract terms are ordinarily a liability for government contractors, opening the possibility of misunderstandings, expensive disputes, and, potentially, unpaid additional work.  However, contract ambiguity recently came to the aid of a federal contractor accused of False Claims Act (“FCA”) violations.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld dismissal of a suit alleging FCA violations by a contractor for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, holding that internally contradictory and vague contract language defeated the possibility of a jury finding of requisite intent for an FCA violation.

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