Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

UNITED STATES EX REL. GOLD

November 18, 1994

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ex rel, NORMAN I. GOLD, Plaintiff, against MORRISON-KNUDSEN COMPANY, INC., BLACK RIVER CONSTRUCTORS, FORT DRUM CONSTRUCTORS and NATIONAL STRUCTURES INC., d/b/a ENVIRODOME DOMICILE OPERATIONS, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: CON. G. CHOLAKIS

 MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

 Presently before the Court is defendants' motion (1) to dismiss plaintiff's amended complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b) and/or grant defendants summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56, and (2) for attorney's fees; and plaintiff's cross-motion for an extension of the discovery date deadline.

 Previously, this court considered a motion to dismiss brought by defendants Morrison-Knudsen Company (MKC), Black River Constructors (BRC), Fort Drum Constructors (FDC), and National Structures Inc. (NSI), after which the Court permitted qui tam plaintiff Norman Gold to correct the deficiencies in his False Claims Act complaint *fn1" by alleging fraud with particularity as Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b) requires. See Memorandum Decision and Order dated Dec. 3, 1993. Subsequently, Gold timely submitted an amended complaint and, thereafter, defendants' again moved to dismiss Gold's action for failure to plead fraud with particularity. As a result of that motion, this Court dismissed Gold's first claim with prejudice, but preserved his second and third claims. See Memorandum Decision and Order dated March 3, 1994.

 In those two remaining claims, Gold: (1) alleges irregularities in FDC's original bid and subsequent attempts to increase that bid *fn2" ("Count II"); and (2) contends that the MKC, through BRC, manipulated work progress schedules using the Network Analysis System (NAS) software in order to justify unnecessary government expenditures on overtime, interim progress payments in advance of actual progress in the construction, and ultimately, claims for damages resulting from contrived delays ("Count III"). In making his assertions, Gold relies heavily on documents that he incorporated into his original and amended complaints, and principally upon the memoranda of one Robert R. Oliver, a contracting engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers, who monitored the progress of the Fort Drum construction.

 According to defendants: (1) Count II is based upon information disclosed in news articles appearing in the Engineering News Record and the Syracuse Herald Journal, and material the Corps sent to Gold -- including Lester Edelman's Final decision, which permitted FDC to correct the mistake in its bid; and (2) Count III is based upon an administrative report prepared by a Corps engineer. Thus, defendants contend that, because these remaining claims are based upon publicly disclosed material, these claims are barred under 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e).

 Section 3730(e)(4) provides:

 
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, "original source" means an individual who has direct and independent knowledge of the information on which the allegations are based and has voluntarily provided the information to the Government before filing an action under this section which is based on the information.

 "The satisfaction of ... § 3730(e)(4) is ... an issue of subject matter jurisdiction." United States ex rel. Kreindler & Kreindler v. United Technologies Corp., 985 F.2d 1148 (2d Cir. 1993) (quoting United States ex rel. Precision Co. v. Koch Indus., Inc., 971 F.2d 548, 551 (10th Cir.1992), cert. denied, 122 L. Ed. 2d 742, 113 S. Ct. 1364 (1993)). "Section 3730(e)(4) is intended to bar 'parasitic lawsuits' based upon publicly disclosed information in which would-be relators 'seek remuneration although they contributed nothing to the exposure of the fraud.'" Id. (quoting United States ex rel. John Doe v. John Doe Corp., 960 F.2d 318, 319 (2d Cir.1992))

 Section 3730(e)(4) was "designed to preclude qui tam suits based on information that would have been equally available to strangers to the fraud transaction had they chosen to look for it as it was to the relator." United States ex rel. Stinson, Lyons, Gerlin & Bustamante, P.A. v. Prudential Insurance Co., 944 F.2d 1149, 1155-56 (3d Cir.1991); see also United States ex rel. John Doe v. John Doe Corp., 960 F.2d 318, 322 ("Potential accessibility by those not a party to the fraud [is] the touchstone of public disclosure. (citing Stinson)). *fn3" Moreover, such an action is precluded if it is based -- in any part -- upon publicly disclosed allegations or transactions, and not only if it is based solely upon publicly disclosed information. Kreindler, 985 F.2d at 1158.

 Here, Gold's remaining claims are primarily based -- and certainly at least in part -- upon publicly disclosed allegations and transactions. As a result, for Gold to avoid this statutory bar, he must satisfy the limited exception to that bar provided by § 3730(e)(4)(A) & (B) -- i.e., he must be an "original source of the information." "Original source" is expressly defined in § 3730(e)(4)(B) -- "a qui tam plaintiff must (1) have direct and independent knowledge of the information on which the allegations are based, and (2) have voluntarily provided such information to the government prior to filing suit." Kreindler, 985 F.2d at 1159. Furthermore, "there is an additional requirement that a qui tam plaintiff must meet in order to be considered an 'original source,' namely, a plaintiff also must have directly or indirectly been a source to the entity that publicly disclosed the allegations on which a suit is based[, and Gold] does not meet these requirements." Id.

 
As in Kreindler:

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.