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DAM Contractor's Underbidding Insufficient For FCA Liability


Affirming summary judgment, the D.C. Circuit in U.S. ex rel. Bettis v. Oderbrecht Contractors (Jan. 11, 2005) held that evidence that a dam contractor (1) underbid, (2) reaffirmed its underbid, and (3) claimed that it would use cost-saving measures it never employed did not permit the conclusion that the contractor fraudulently induced the Army Corps of Engineers to award it the contract. The Court acknowledged that claims submitted for payment under a contract that was fraudulently induced can give rise to civil False Claims Act liability, but found in this case that the contractor's underbid was not a promise that its estimated costs were accurate, only that it would perform the dam work at the unit prices it bid, such that submission of claims for payment under the contract, including claims for equitable adjustments above the contract price, were not false claims.

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