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U.S. Government Says D.C. Circuit Ruling Gives FCA Defendants Easy Out

Back in November, False Claims Act ("FCA") Defendants scored a huge victory in United States ex rel. Purcell v. MWI Corp. On February 8, the federal government asked the D.C. Circuit Court to reverse its judgment that held that Moving Waters Industries Corp. ("MWI)" was not liable for certifications it made to Nigeria because language in those certifications was ambiguous.

The case revolves around interpretation of the phrase "regular commissions." MWI argued that "it was entitled to rely on its own reasonable interpretation of 'regular commissions'" absent any explanation of the ambiguous phrase from the government. The federal government criticized the ruling, explaining that it would require future certifications to "envision and then warn against every possible 'reasonable' interpretation." Moreover, the government added that the decision was counter to Congress' intent with the FCA to undermine any ignorance defense.

On Monday, the federal government asked the D.C. Circuit Court to reverse the judgment because it would allow defendants to shirk liability in many FCA cases. The government argued further that the decision would "at a minimum, consume vast amounts of federal resources as government employees attempt to guess and address all possible permutations of any condition of payment."

The legal team at SFMS has significant experience litigating FCA matters. If you have any questions regarding this subject or this posting, please contact Alec Berin ([email protected]) or Chiharu Sekino ([email protected]). We can also be reached toll-free at (866) 540-5505.

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