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US v. ConAgra, Inc., No. 09-1163

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By FindLaw Staff on October 27, 2010 9:09 AM

False Claims Act Action

In US v. ConAgra, Inc., No. 09-1163, an action under the reverse false claims provision of the False Claims Act (FCA), alleging that defendants altered thousands of beef and hide export certificates issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), rather than obtaining replacement certificates, in order to avoid paying the fees charged by the USDA for replacement certificates, the court affirmed partial judgment for plaintiff where 1) plaintiff effectively invited the district court to bifurcate the original source issue from the merits issues; 2) plaintiff's substantial rights were not adversely impacted by the district court's instructional error; and 3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in allowing defendant to cross-examine plaintiff regarding his prior litigation history.

As the court wrote:  "Plaintiff Ali Bahrani filed this action under the reverse false claims provision of the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(7), alleging that defendants ConAgra, Inc., ConAgra Hide Division, ConAgra Beef Company, and Monfort, Inc. (collectively ConAgra or defendants) altered thousands of beef and hide export certificates issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), rather than obtaining replacement certificates, in order to avoid paying the fees charged by the USDA for replacement certificates."

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