Support for Rigsby qui tam found hanging on the Branch qui tam docket

Since claims brought under the FCA are not contract-based claims or dependent upon the degree of negligence involved, the claims are unimpaired by contractual limitations on liability.

We missed it or did until today when I went to the Branch docket for an update and found a Statement of Interest in Opposition to Defendant State Farm’s Motion to Dismiss filed by the United States among the entries made before the Order dismissing Branch was issued.

There was no blog SLABBED until after Branch was dismissed.  However, once we were up and running in March 2008, we posted the Branch Consultants’ qui tam case here; wrote about the Appeal here and here ; and reported on 5th Circuit’s decision here and here.

Nonetheless, until today, we missed the Government unequivocally stating that statutory authority over a WYO carrier can not be contracted away.

The fact that FIA and the WYO carriers enter into an agreement, and the agreement relates to the WYO carriers’ alleged violation of the FCA, does not mean that the FCA claim is founded on that agreement. Rather, the FCA claim is founded on the defendants’ alleged violation of a federal statute which prohibits a person, like the defendants, from acting with appropriate scienter to submit false or fraudulent claims to the government or make false statements in order to avoid an obligation to the government. Further, the FCA provides for relief – treble damages and penalties – that is not available under the Arrangement but that arises instead by statute.

With FCA claims not contract – based claims or dependent upon the degree of negligence involved, there is no “reasonable overpayment” – no “little bit pregnant” fraud permissible under the Expedited Claim Handling Processes authorized following Hurricane Katrina. Continue reading “Support for Rigsby qui tam found hanging on the Branch qui tam docket”

SLABBED Daily: June 13 – 14 (weekend edition)

A trip to the Farmer’s Market is at the top of my “to do”  list for today; but, one thing I won’t be buying is a cucumber for the health tonic I’ve been taking daily since my trip to the beach.

I prefer my Pimm’s with lime and crushed mint – and cucumber in salads and sandwiches.

Julia Reed, a Mississippi writer regardless of where she lives, put Pimm’s first on her list of kick-back-and-enjoy-summer cocktails and added a great story:Pimms-Cup-1

I love a Pimm’s Cup, which is the house specialty at the Napoleon House here in the French Quarter…I discovered a Pimm’s Royale in Paris at the Ritz Bar, where I repaired after abandoning my almost husband on our sort of honeymoon.

I had called off the marriage at rather the last minute, and we already had this elaborate trip to France all paid for and planned, and Continue reading “SLABBED Daily: June 13 – 14 (weekend edition)”