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US v. Science Apps. Int'l. Corp., No. 09-5385

By FindLaw Staff on December 03, 2010 3:36 PM

False Claims Act Action

In US v. Science Apps. Int'l. Corp., No. 09-5385, an action against a government contractor for violating the False Claims Act (FCA) by seeking payments at the same time it knew it was violating contractual provisions governing potential conflicts of interest, the court vacated judgment for plaintiff where the district court's "collective knowledge" instruction conflicted with the FCA's scienter standard, the proper application of which was critical to ensuring that FCA liability attached only for false or fraudulent claims and not for accidental or even negligent breaches of contract.

 

As the court wrote:  "In this case a jury found, among other things, that appellant, a major government contractor, violated the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. § 3729, by seeking payments at the same time it knew it was violating contractual provisions governing potential conflicts of interest. On appeal, the contractor principally argues that no liability may attach for its claims for payment because its contract nowhere designated compliance with these conflict of interest requirements as express conditions of payment."

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