Fraud and Criminal Investigations
The 1986 amendments to the False Claims Act and the dramatic increase of qui tam suits they occasioned led to the formation of McKenna Long & Aldridge's (MLA) Fraud and False Claims and Qui Tam practice group, one of the largest and most experienced False Claims Act/Qui Tam practice groups in the nation. Since that time, MLA attorneys have litigated dozens of cases in the False Claims Act and qui tam arena. In many of these cases, we have been able to obtain orders of dismissal at an early stage, thus sparing our clients the burdens of discovery and trial.
In addition to providing clients unparalleled litigation capability on both a national and regional scale, the Qui Tam practice group is committed to educating its clients through seminars, newsletters, and articles.
Experienced Practitioners in False Claims Act and Qui Tam Litigation
MLA has distinguished itself by the diversity and depth of its members in defending both large and small clients in False Claims Act and qui tam suits.
Members of the group include former Assistant United States Attorneys, former U.S. Department of Justice attorneys and former judicial law clerks. This collective government employment experience, combined with the vast number of False Claims Act and qui tam matters the group has handled, provides our clients invaluable insight into government strategy and decision-making in qui tam litigation and lays the groundwork for effective negotiations with the Department of Justice and the agencies that are involved in the particular litigation.
Our attorneys also are experienced practitioners in a broad range of related areas such as white collar crime, government contract, civil fraud and conspiracy, and construction litigation. These additional areas enable us to identify and implement creative litigation strategies and defenses.
The national scope of the group provides clients with experienced representation in all fora, at both the trial and appellate levels. Our regional offices ensure that, regardless of the forum, we will have familiarity with the judges and local practices and procedures.
Creative Solutions Combined With Cost-Effective Representation
MLA's Qui Tam practice group is committed to case-appropriate staffing with an emphasis on cost-effective dispute resolution. Due to our experience, we are prepared immediately to staff cases of any size, ranging from complex multiple-plaintiff/ multiple-defendant litigation involving parties spread across the nation, to smaller cases where the needs are more localized. The national scope of the practice ensures that even the most complex litigation will be handled in an efficient, cost-effective manner.
MLA's extensive experience in litigating every aspect of qui tam suits includes motions practice, discovery and trials at the state and district court levels and conducting appeals before the various state and federal circuit courts of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Los Angeles office successfully obtained a defense judgment in a major qui tam trial in 1993. The case involved allegations that a major defense contractor knowingly delivered defective engineering drawings. Testimony in support of the defendant was elicited from key government personnel, including program managers, contracting officers and engineers who stated that, notwithstanding minor errors, the drawings met the government's expectations for accuracy. Accordingly, the court ruled, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed, that no false claim had been submitted.
Many of the cases the Qui Tam practice group has litigated have been at the vanguard in developing new defenses against qui tam suits. For example, in U.S. ex rel. Madden v. General Dynamics, the Washington office achieved a significant victory for the defense bar by obtaining a ruling from the Ninth Circuit that qui tam defendants are entitled to assert counterclaims against plaintiffs.
In many cases, we have been successful in obtaining not only dismissal of the allegations, but monetary awards for our clients. For example, in one False Claims Act case brought by the Government, the Washington office obtained a settlement with the Government in which the Government dropped all of its claims and paid our client $49 million for its original claim.
The San Diego office recently represented a construction contractor in a case where the government agency alleged violations of the California Civil False Claims Act, along with fraud and breach of contract. The project involved the construction of a two mile water tunnel drilled through a mountain. The agency sought over $100 million in damages for alleged false billings. MLA successfully moved for summary judgment to dismiss the CFCA claims and at trial successfully defended against the fraud and breach of contract claims. At the same time, MLA recovered over $6 million and attorneys fees on the contractor's cross-claim damages against the agency.