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A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently rejected an argument advanced by two subsidiaries of a nationwide health care “watchdog” that the government improperly moved to dismiss two False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuits in U.S. ex rel. Health Choice Alliance LLC et al. v. Eli Lilly & Co. Inc. et al., No. 19-40906 (5th Cir. Jul. 7, 2021).  The relators accused Bayer Corp. and Eli Lilly & Co. Inc. of participating in a kickback scheme by offering free patient-education services to providers in exchange for providers prescribing their products in violation of the Anti-Kickback Act and the FCA.  The government initially declined to intervene in the cases, then a year later, notified the relators that it intended to move to dismiss and detailed its concerns about the viability of the cases.  After two-and-a-half months of negotiations with the relators, the government moved to dismiss the cases pursuant to its authority under 31 U.S.C. § 3730(c)(2)(A), citing, among other things, its two-year investigation into the relators’ cases.  The District Court granted the motions and the relators appealed.

Before undertaking its substantive analysis under the FCA, the Fifth Circuit analyzed whether it had jurisdiction to hear the relators’ appeal.  Though the relators and government agreed that there was appellate jurisdiction, the Fifth Circuit identified a potential issue based on the timeline of two events: (1) relators’ voluntary dismissal without prejudice; and (2) the District Court’s order granting the government’s motion to dismiss.  Specifically, the Fifth Circuit analyzed whether the relators’ voluntary dismissal eight months prior to the government’s motion to dismiss deprived the District Court of the ability to issue a final appealable order.  The Fifth Circuit declined to create a Circuit split on the question, and concluded “that the prior without-prejudice dismissals did not deprive the district court’s subsequent decision of finality.”


Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Declines to Take a Side in the FCA Circuit Split on DOJ’s Dismissal Authority Pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3730(c)(2)(A)

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Crowell & Moring’s “All Things Protest” podcast keeps you up to date on major trends in bid protest litigation, key developments in high-profile cases, and best practices in state and federal procurement. In this episode, hosts Rob Sneckenberg, Olivia Lynch, and Christian Curran discuss considerations and best practices when the Government inadvertently releases competition-sensitive information.

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The Federal Circuit recently affirmed the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals’ (CBCA) decision denying a pandemic-related claim in Pernix Serka Joint Venture v. Secretary of State, CBCA No. 5683, 20-1 BCA ¶ 37,589.  Pernix involved a firm-fixed-price construction contract in Sierra Leone that was impacted by an Ebola outbreak several months into the project.  The Department of State (DOS) declined to provide direction or to issue a suspension of work order, and instead advised Pernix to make its own business decisions regarding performance and employee safety.  Pernix chose to demobilize its workforce and, later, to remobilize with the addition of its own on-site medical facility and services.  Pernix then submitted a claim for the increased medical, safety, and demobilization and remobilization costs.  DOS granted an adjustment to the schedule for the Ebola-related delays under the contract’s excusable delay clause, but denied Pernix’s monetary claim.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Affirms Board Decision on Pandemic-Related Claim

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Over the past few years, both the government and False Claims Act relators (whistleblowers) have targeted more types of defendants than they have ever previously.  Against this backdrop, Congress passed two of the largest relief bills in modern history and thus even more companies find themselves involved with the federal government in a new way

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This week’s episode covers a new Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk, the final DFARS provision on contract closeout, a new SBA decision involving a mentor-protégé joint venture, and a FedRAMP update, and is hosted by partners Peter Eyre and Olivia Lynch. Crowell & Moring’s “Fastest 5 Minutes” is a biweekly podcast that provides a

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In this bullet point, Olivia Lynch, Amy O’Sullivan, Michael Samuels, and Zachary Schroeder address the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals’ (OHA) recent decision in DSC-EMI Maintenance Solutions, LLC, SBA No. SIZ-6096. In the decision, OHA affirmed a size determination holding that a joint venture formed pursuant to SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program was other-than-small because

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On May 20, 2021, the FAR Council issued a proposed Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) rule on post-award debriefings that largely codifies—and in a number of ways bolsters—the existing enhanced post-award debriefing rules established by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) March 22, 2018 Class Deviation on Enhanced Postaward Debriefing Rights.  The proposed rule requires

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This week’s episode covers a new Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, expansion of the GSA Schedule Transactional Data Reporting pilot program, conflicts of interest, revised CDC mask guidance, and Treasury’s Interim Final Rule to provide guidance on the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds established under the American Rescue Plan Act, and

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On May 10, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) issued an Interim Final Rule to provide long-awaited guidance on the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (“the Fiscal Recovery Funds”) established under the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”).  The Rule became effective on May 17, 2021.  To facilitate the implementation of these funds, this Interim Final Rule establishes a framework for determining the types of programs and services that are eligible under the ARPA along with a list of eligible uses that State, local, and Tribal governments may consider.
Continue Reading Treasury Issues Guidance on the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds under the American Rescue Plan Act

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In URS Federal Services, Inc., ASBCA No. 62475 (March 23, 2021), the Board dismissed a contractor’s three-count complaint for lack of jurisdiction on one count and for failure to state a claim on the other two.  The Board first addressed Count III, which alleged that the Government had breached the implied duty of