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United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
May 1, 2008, Argued; May 13, 2008, Decided; May 13, 2008, Filed
File Name: 08a0180p.06
[*441] KENNEDY, Circuit Judge. Ms. Claudia Marlar filed this action against her former employer, BWXT Y-12, L.L.C. ("BWXT"), alleging that it had violated the False Claims Act ("FCA") by defrauding the United States government, in violation of 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1)-(3), and by discharging her in retaliation for whistleblowing, in violation [**2] of 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h). The district court held that Ms. Marlar's claim of fraud was not pleaded with specificity, and therefore [***2] her cause of action was dismissed for failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b). The district court also held that Ms. Marlar failed to allege the elements necessary to establish a cause of action for retaliation, and therefore dismissed her complaint for failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Ms. Marlar claims that both determinations are in error. We find that the district court properly dismissed Ms. Marlar's fraud complaint, as Ms. Marlar failed to identify a single false claim and did not establish the specifics of the alleged fraud. We find, however, that Ms. Marlar adequately pleaded a cause of action for retaliation. We therefore affirm in part and reverse in part the district court's decision, [*442] and we remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
I. Factual Background
Ms. Marlar sued BWXT for allegedly defrauding the United States government and discharging her in retaliation for whistleblowing. Her complaint alleges that BWXT operates the Y-12 nuclear power facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee [**3] pursuant to a contract with the United States Department of Energy ("DOE"). The contract at issue in this case began November 1, 2000 and covered a five-year operational period. The compensation paid to BWXT by DOE had fixed elements as well as performance-based elements. Each month, BWXT would report its performance to date to DOE. BWXT would then receive partial, quarterly payments based upon its reports. At the end of the fiscal year, BWXT would submit a certified Completion Form regarding its performance as well as a self-evaluation, and DOE would reconcile this with previous payments to determine whether any further performance-based compensation was due. If the contractual performance objectives were not met or only partially met, then DOE had discretion to adjust BWXT's compensation downward.
One contractual, performance-based element was BWXT's reports from its Environment, Safety, and Health division. The Environment, Safety, and Health division was responsible for evaluating and reporting work-related accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Reportable instances included "all new work-related injuries that result[ed] in: (1) death; (2) days away from work; (3) restrictions on work; [**4] (4) transfer to another job; () medical treatment beyond first aid; or () loss of consciousness." J.A. at 13 (Compl. P24). "Medical treatment beyond first aid include[d] the administration of any prescription drug (except those used for diagnostic purposes) or of non-prescription drugs at above normal dosages or strengths." J.A. at 14 (Compl. P27). BWXT received greater compensation for fewer reports of work-related accidents, injuries, and illnesses.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
525 F.3d 439 *; 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 10240 **; 2008 FED App. 0180P (6th Cir.) ***; 27 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 1172
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ex rel. CLAUDIA MARLAR; and CLAUDIA MARLAR, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. BWXT Y-12, L.L.C., Defendant-Appellee.
Subsequent History: Summary judgment denied by United States ex rel. Marlar v. BWXT Y-12, L.L.C., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63384 (E.D. Tenn., July 23, 2009)
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville. No. 04-00415--Thomas A. Varlan, District Judge.
United States ex rel. Marlar v. BWXT Y-12, L.L.C., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57530 (E.D. Tenn., Aug. 6, 2007)
allegations, work-related, illnesses, injuries, false claim, fraudulent, district court, medical record, pleaded, protected activity, under-reporting, certifications, retaliation, purportedly, fraudulent claim, reporting, administrative leave, particularity, asserts, billing, senior management, illegal activity, performance-based, practitioner, defrauding, terminated, employees, prescription drug, false report, qui tam
Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Pleadings, Heightened Pleading Requirements, Fraud Claims, Labor & Employment Law, False Claims Act, Scope & Definitions, Qui Tam Actions, Business & Corporate Compliance, Protected Activities, Complaints, Requirements for Complaint, Retaliation, Statutory Application, False Claims Act