On August 22, 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a decision in Carlson v. DynCorp International LLC, affirming the district court’s dismissal of an ex-employee’s retaliation suit under the False Claims Act’s (FCA) anti-retaliation provision, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h). While the Fourth Circuit concluded that the district court applied a standard “rendered erroneous by recent amendments to the statute,” the court nonetheless affirmed the district court’s decision dismissing the case.
Scott Carlson (Carlson) was employed by private military contractor DynCorp International LLC (DynCorp). Because DynCorp had substantial government contracts, it was subject to certain accounting and billing standards dictated by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. Carlson alleged that DynCorp engaged in improper billing practices on existing government contracts, including one with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), by hiding indirect and overhead costs in an unbillable code. Carlson further alleged that DynCorp fraudulently obtained a new contract from USAID because DynCorp’s bid on the new contract contained a false certification that DynCorp was complying with the accounting and billing standards of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. Carlson claims that after raising the issue with management, DynCorp terminated him. Carlson filed his FCA suit for retaliatory termination in the Eastern District of Virginia. The district court dismissed Carlson’s case with prejudice for failure to state a claim. (more…)