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Schroeder ex rel. United States v. United States

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

July 16, 2015

CARL SCHROEDER, United States of America, ex. rel., Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Intervenor Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
CH2M HILL; WASHINGTON RIVER PROTECTION SOLUTION LLC, Defendants

Argued and Submitted April 10, 2015, Seattle, Washington

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. D.C. No. 2:09-cv-05038-LRS. Lonny R. Suko, Senior District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[*]

False Claims Act

The panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of Carl Schroeder as qui tam relator in a qui tam suit concerning the billing practices of a government contractor.

In an issue of first impression, the panel held that 31 U.S.C. § 3730(d)(3) of the False Claims Act requires the dismissal of a qui tam relator convicted of the conduct giving rise to the fraud, even if the relator only played a minor role.

Jackson Schmidt (argued), Pepple Cantu Schmidt PLLC, Seattle, Washington, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney, Stuart F. Delery, Assistant Attorney General, Michael S. Rabb and Robert D. Kamenshine (argued), Attorneys, Appellate Staff, Civil Division, Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., for Intervenor Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before: Michael Daly Hawkins, Johnnie B. Rawlinson, and Consuelo M. Callahan, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Michael Daly Hawkins, Circuit Judge.

Carl Schroeder (" Schroeder" ) appeals his dismissal from a qui tam suit concerning the billing practices of government contractor CH2M Hill. The appeal turns on an issue of first impression: Does 31 U.S.C. § 3730(d)(3) of the False Claims Act (" FCA" ) require the dismissal of a qui tam relator convicted of the conduct giving rise to the fraud, even if he or she only played a minor role? We hold that the statute does require such a relator to be dismissed and affirm the district court.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Schroeder worked for CH2M Hill, a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy (" DOE" ) as a Radiological Control Technician from January 2002 to February 2003 and then again from May 2004 to October 2008. During this time, CH2M Hill engaged in widespread fraudulent billing of hourly work.

Schroeder, like many of his colleagues, submitted false time cards, and, as a result, received at least $50,000 for falsely claimed overtime hours. In April 2008, the DOE Office of Inspector General (" OIG" ) learned of the time card fraud from an anonymous source and began investigating. OIG investigators interviewed Schroeder's colleagues in November 2008. Several of them were escorted off-site, and supervisors informed employees that the ...


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