Qui Tam Action Under the FCA & Bivens Claim

By FindLaw Staff on July 30, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

U.S. ex rel. Loughren v. Unum Group, 09-1606, concerned a qui tam action under the False Claims Act (FCA), claiming that defendants knowingly caused their insureds to file baseless applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), thereby burdening the Social Security Administration with the time and expense required to deny such claims.  In affirming the district court's judgment in part, the court held that, because the statement at issue is capable of influencing the agency's decision to consider and ultimately pay the claim, it is thus material under the FCA.  Also, it was not unreasonable for the jury to conclude that defendant at least had "reckless disregard" for the falsity of the claimants' statements that they were "unable to work" within the meaning of the Social Security Act.  However, the court vacated in part and remanded where the district court abused its discretion in excluding certain evidence that is highly relevant to one of the elements necessary to prove defendant's liability.

Giragosian v. Bettencourt, 09-2001, concerned plaintiff's Bivens action against a regulatory inspection officer employed by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), arising from an investigation of defendant and his gun shop following an incident where plaintiff was training a customer to use a handgun when the customer committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.  In affirming the district court's order dismissing the action, the court held that, because the officer was entitled to qualified immunity from suit, plaintiff failed to state a claim on which the district court could grant relief.


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