Managing Mounting Risks
False Claims Act litigation, including qui tam ("whistleblower”) actions, has increased exponentially since the 1986 amendments to the False Claims Act, and that trend has continued after the 2009 and 2010 amendments to the Act. The consequences to companies violating the False Claims Act can be significant: treble damages, as well as civil penalties for each violation. In addition, False Claims Act matters are often part of parallel criminal investigations. A False Claims Act violation or criminal conviction can also bar the defendant from conducting future business with the U.S. government. Finally, recently adopted regulations requiring federal contractors to disclose False Claims Act violations and create compliance and internal control regimes are likely to trigger even more activity in this area.
Experienced Litigators, Aggressive Advocates, Effective Negotiators
Miller & Chevalier has long been a leader in defending False Claims Act and qui tam cases, with particular experience in both the defense and health care arenas. We have litigated more than 30 significant False Claims Act cases, including many actions initiated by qui tam plaintiffs. We have successfully resolved many large False Claims Act matters and disposed of many others through creative motions raising the full range of available defenses. Several of these cases are landmarks in the field, such as United States ex rel. Wilkins v. N. Am. Constr. Corp., 173 F. Supp. 2d 601 (S.D. Tex. 2001) (materiality) and United States ex rel. Foust v. Group Hosp. & Med. Servs., Inc., 26 F. Supp. 2d 60 (D.D.C. 1998) (public disclosure). We are just as proud of having resolved many matters before they are ever filed or unsealed. This has involved undertaking internal investigations, convincing the government not to institute an action or intervene in a pending qui tam action, and occasionally making voluntary disclosures. In addition to the deep litigation experience, our team includes lawyers who formerly served in government who regularly call upon this valuable experience to assist our clients.
We have successfully defended clients in False Claims Act actions involving a wide range of allegations, including failure to comply with quality assurance requirements, cost mischarging, fraudulent inducement, defective pricing, obstruction of federal audits, product substitution, provider overpayments, false certifications, improper gratuities, bribery, kickbacks, and conflicts of interest. In addition, we have been asked to file amicus briefs in federal district courts and courts of appeals, as well as in the United States Supreme Court, in many precedent-setting cases. Numerous matters have included parallel criminal investigations.
Miller & Chevalier has counseled and represented a broad range of government contractors in every phase of False Claims Act and criminal procurement fraud investigations and litigation, including with regard to Iraqi reconstruction and foreign military sales. In the health care industry, the firm has represented many health insurers, health maintenance organizations, and other health care providers and has litigated many of precedent-setting cases in health care law, including fraud and Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) claims. We have litigated and investigated false claims and fraud matters involving Medicare, Medicaid, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
We have experience with Inspector General inquiries, government audits, grand jury proceedings, suspension and debarment proceedings, global settlements, trials, and appellate proceedings. Indeed, the firm’s depth and capacity in defending criminal and civil fraud cases from inception through trial not only enables us to spot and develop innovative litigation strategies, but to isolate, identify, and investigate the relevant issues in a False Claims Act action quickly and efficiently -- always with an eye to bringing these often complex and potentially costly matters to an early and favorable resolution.
Our lawyers have designed, coordinated, and conducted internal investigations for a wide range of clients in connection with government actions, as well as assisted clients in establishing procedures to ensure compliance with applicable laws and government regulations. Because we recognize that companies doing business with government agencies have interests beyond current problems, we work closely with in-house counsel and internal auditors to improve compliance and establish procedures to mitigate risk and avoid problems in the future.