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False Claims Act Action Concerning Bid-Rigging in Egyptian Government Contracts

By FindLaw Staff on June 22, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019
Also, Decisions in Administrative, Contract, Copyright, and Employment Matters

US Ex Rel. Miller v. Bill Harbert Int'l. Const., Inc., 08-5390, involved a False Claims Act (FCA) action claiming that five companies and one individual rigged the bidding on three contracts in Egypt funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.  The court of appeals affirmed judgment for plaintiff in part, holding that 1) the government's claims concerning one contract were not barred by the statute of limitations because they related back to plaintiff's original timely complaint; 2) although the false claims provisions of the Foreign Assistance Act and the FCA did overlap, the two statutes were fully capable of coexisting.  However, the court reversed in part, holding that 1) certain of plaintiff's claims were barred by the statute of limitations because he added them after the limitation period had run; and 2) allowing the government to contradict a factual stipulation called into question the credibility of defendant's counsel, severely impeding counsel's ability to effectively advocate for his client.

Recording Indus. Assn. of Am. v. Library of Cong., No. 09-1075, involved a petition for review of the Copyright Royalty Board's decision instituting a 1.5 percent per month late fee for late royalty payments, and implementing a pennyrate royalty structure for cell phone ringtones, under which copyright owners received 24 cents for every ringtone sold using their copyrighted work.  The D.C. Circuit denied the petition, on the grounds that 1) the Board appropriately took market evidence into account when imposing a late fee; 2) a copyright owner's ability to terminate a section 115 license in no way barred the imposition of a late fee; and 3) even if it were true that divided interests in a copyright made it difficult to make timely payments to each copyright owner, that fact would in no way counsel against the imposition of a late fee.

Armstrong v. Geithner, No. 09-5172, concerned an action alleging that Department of the Treasury employees violated the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. section 552a, by disclosing the details of an investigation into plaintiff's conduct.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendants, on the ground that plaintiff failed to establish that the information disclosed had been retrieved from a record held in a system of records, as required in an action for damages under the Privacy Act.

Schaefer v. McHugh, No. 09-5187, involved an action arguing that the Army Correction Board's decision rescinding plaintiff's discharge from the Army was arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant, holding that 1) the Board reasonably concluded that plaintiff was not lawfully discharged from the Army on September 14, 2001; 2) plaintiff failed to show that he suffered any prejudice from the Army's alleged error regarding which entity could technically revoke the authorization for his discharge; and 3) Article 3(b) applied only to individuals who were actually "discharged from the armed forces" and then returned to the military to face court-martial.

Gonzalez v. Dept. of Labor, No. 09-5195, involved an action challenging the Department of Labor's decision that plaintiff was required to pay the Department a share of the proceeds from a personal injury action.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant, on the grounds that 1) the settlement agreement clearly showed that the parties' mutual intent was to have both spouses release their respective claims against defendants; 2) it was for Labor to determine how much of plaintiffs' settlement proceeds should be allocated to plaintiff's loss of consortium claim; and 3) plaintiffs offered insufficient evidence to substantiate their claim for costs.

RLI Ins. Co. v. All Star Transp., Inc., No. 09-7027, concerned an interpleader action by an insurance company to determine its obligations to pay truckers hired by its bankrupt insured under a surety bond.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant, on the ground that Form BMC 84, which governed such bonds, plainly stated that the face value of the bond was the sum of $10,000.

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