For the second time, a federal judge has dismissed a $1 billion whistleblower case against Raytheon for allegedly overbilling the U.S. government for satellite sensors.
U.S. District Judge Otis Wright said the plaintiff failed to sufficiently allege that the defense contractor submitted false payment claims or that its actions mattered when the government paid the claims. Wright previously dismissed the case in 2013.
In the latest ruling, the judge said Steven Mateski's allegations were too general and "barebones."
False Claims Act
The decision ended a battle that began for the second time last year, when a federal appeals court reversed the dismissal of Mateski's lawsuit the first time. The case involved claims that Raytheon violated the federal False Claims Act as far back as 2002.
Mateski alleged that Raytheon, his employer from 1997 to 2006, had mismanaged its contract to develop imaging sensors for a satellite system. He alleged problems that had been made public about the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported in 2005 that the system suffered delays, cost overruns and other problems. In a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, Raytheon argued that the plaintiff's allegations were based on public knowledge and not on his knowledge of other facts.
Wright agreed, but the Ninth Circuit did not.
"If his allegations prove to be true, Mateski will undoubtedly have been one of those whistle-blowing insiders with genuinely valuable information, rather than an opportunistic plaintiff who has no significant information to contribute," Circuit Judge Michelle Friedland wrote in United States ex rel Mateski v. Raytheon.
According to reports, Mateski could not enlist the government's help in the case. Even though it was entitled to share in any recovery, the United States elected not to pursue it in 2012.
After Mateski amended his complaint five times, the trial judge said it was enough and dismissed without leave to amend.