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Cameron Hamrick focuses on government contract matters, litigation and civil fraud investigations. He counsels on a wide variety of contract matters, including procurement integrity and conflict of interest issues, drafting and negotiating contracts and subcontracts, cost accounting, defective pricing, protection of proprietary data, terminations for convenience and default, preparation of claims, and suspension and debarment. He has litigated complex contract cases before the federal district courts, the US Court of Federal Claims, federal agency boards of contract appeals and other forums, as well as bid protests before the GAO and the US Court of Federal Claims. He has substantial experience providing government contracts compliance advice and training to companies and their employees. He has lectured on government contracts, environmental remediation and construction topics. Cameron joined Mayer Brown in 2001 after practicing with another major Washington, DC, law firm.

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In an opinion issued last week, the Third Circuit added to a circuit split on an important issue concerning the False Claims Act—what a relator (or DOJ) must show at the pleading stage to satisfy Rule 9(b)’s “particularity” requirement. In United States ex rel. Foglia v. Renal Ventures Mgmt, LLC, the Third Circuit sided with three other circuit courts that applied a lower pleading standard that plaintiffs need not show “representative samples” of alleged fraudulent conduct, and instead need only allege particular details of a scheme to submit false claims paired with reliable indicia that lead to a strong inference that claims were actually submitted. The Supreme Court has recently declined to resolve the circuit split on this issue, so False Claims Act defendants in the Third Circuit should expect to address the lower pleading standard for some time to come.

Continue Reading Third Circuit Adds to Circuit Split on Rule 9(b)’s Particularity Requirement in the Context of an FCA Claim

FAR 52.246-2 is a fundamental clause governing inspection of supplies under fixed-price contracts, and it is ordinarily construed in the course of routine contract administration. A recent Fifth Circuit decision analyzed the clause in the context of allegations under the civil False Claims Act (“FCA”). In a significant holding, the Court concluded in United States ex rel. Spicer v. Navistar Defense, L.L.C., that the delivery of nonconforming vehicles by the contractor—which had been rejected by the Government under FAR 52.246-2 (and were then replaced)—could not be the basis for FCA liability under the facts of that case. This is a helpful ruling and demonstrates an appropriate limitation on relators’ attempts to transform ordinary contract issues/disputes into FCA claims.
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Rejects Efforts To Base False Claims Act Liability On FAR Inspection of Supplies Clause

In a case decided last week, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio illustrated how Congress increased the scope of the anti-retaliation provision of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h), by amending that provision in 2009. In Jones-McNamara v. Holzer Health Systems, Inc., the court provided helpful guidance for Government contractors in dealing with employees who conduct investigations of possible wrongdoing.
Continue Reading Recent Decision Highlights the Expanded Scope of the FCA’s Anti-Retaliation Provision

The D.C. Circuit’s recent opinion involving the False Claims Act’s “first-to file” rule is an notable victory for defendants. The holding restricts relators from filing subsequent suits on the same grounds and require them to bring all of the claims that they intend to assert forward in a timely manner. Because of the impact on relators, the issue likely will continue to be litigated and ultimately resolved by the Supreme Court. The False Claims Act’s (FCA) qui tam provisions contain a “first-to-file” bar that provides: “When a person brings an action under [the FCA], no person other than the Government may intervene or bring a related action based on the facts underlying the pending action.” On April 11, the D.C. Circuit issued its decision in United States ex rel. Shea v. Cellco Partnership dba Verizon Wireless, addressing the meaning of the term “pending action.” In particular, the court addressed the question of whether the initial action had to be pending at the time the second action is filed. The court answered the question in the negative.
Continue Reading Closely Watched D.C. Circuit Case Clarifies FCA’s “First-To-File” Rule

Under the Contract Disputes Act, contractor claims submitted to contracting officers (CO) must set forth a clear and unequivocal statement that gives the CO adequate notice of the basis and amount of the claim. This requirement prohibits contractors from raising new claims in court that were not first presented to the CO. In the Affiliated Construction Group v. United States case issued last week, the Court of Federal Claims held that the contractor’s new articulation of a claim in litigation was based on different operative facts from those on which the claim presented to the CO was based. Although the court observed that the case presented a very close question, the court dismissed the claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The case provides a helpful reminder to contractors that they (and counsel) must carefully assess all of the facts in preparing CDA claims—and carefully craft all theories of recovery based on the relevant facts.
Continue Reading Careful Preparation of CDA Claims May Preclude a Jurisdictional Pitfall

At the end of last year, the Eleventh Circuit issued a disturbing decision involving the prolonged suspensions of two companies that had been suspended based solely on the indictment of an affiliated company.  In Agility Defense & Government Services v. U.S. Department of Defense, 739 F.3d 586, the court held that the plaintiffs could be suspended for longer than the 18 months specified by FAR 9.407-4(b) because legal proceedings had been initiated against a parent company – but not against the plaintiffs themselves. For at least four reasons, this holding causes concern for Government contractors.
Continue Reading The Eleventh Circuit’s Questionable Decision Concerning the Suspension of Affiliates