United States v. Envirocare of Utah, Inc.
Citation: 40 ELR 20203
No. No. 09-4079, (10th Cir., 08/04/2010)
The Tenth Circuit reversed a lower court's dismissal of a False Claims Act action brought against a government contractor by one of its former employees alleging that the contractor falsely represented to the government that it had fulfilled its hazardous and radioactive waste disposal obligations and, based on its false representations, improperly received payment from the government. The employee asserted claims based on both implied and express false-certification theories. The employee's complaint contained sufficient factual allegations to support the implied false certification claims. The complaint contained sufficient factual allegations to show that the contractor knowingly submitted legally false requests for payment to the government, that the government paid the requests, and that the government may not have paid had it known of the falsity. Contrary to the lower court's reasoning, implied false certification claims do not involve—let alone require—an explicit certification of regulatory compliance. And to sustain the express false certification claims, the employee only needed to have alleged—with sufficient factual basis—that the requests contained a false statement and that the statement was material to the government's decision to pay. The employee met that burden here.