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Intentional Low Bid Is Not A False Claim


In U.S. ex rel. Bettis v. Odebrecht Contractors of Cal. (Jan. 28, 2004), the D.C. federal district court granted summary judgment in the contractor's favor, rejecting numerous False Claims Act allegations, including, most notably, the relator’s theory that the contractor had fraudulently induced the government to enter into a construction contract by intentionally underbidding for the project, while allegedly planning to submit false changes claims during performance. While expressly recognizing that false estimates could be the basis of an actionable false claim, the court ruled that the mere knowing submission of an unreasonably low bid (at least in the absence of any subsequent illegitimate request for adjustment) did not, by itself, cause the government to pay out funds to which the contractor was not entitled.

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