Whether or not they consider themselves traditional government contractors, companies or individuals that accept money directly or indirectly from the federal government can face exposure to liability under the False Claims Act. Entities suspected of submitting false claims or of making false statements resulting in payment with U.S. government funds face treble damages, penalties of up to $21,563 per false claim or statement, as well as potential suspension and debarment. If such allegations are demonstrated to the satisfaction of federal agencies and prosecutors, the consequences to a business can be ruinous.
Crowell & Moring's experience and reputation in False Claims Act matters is recognized nationally. Over the course of nearly three decades, our lawyers have represented clients from a wide variety of industries in hundreds of related investigations and in litigation. We have also achieved numerous client victories in landmark appellate cases in federal circuit courts across the country. As a result, when describing our False Claims Act and related practices, Chambers USA stated Crowell & Moring has "one of the foremost practices in the market, the breadth and depth of this team's technical knowledge coupled with the deep experience of its leading partners earn it a top-tier ranking."
We follow a logical, proven process in our False Claims Act investigations and defense of clients. Our first objective in every matter is to persuade the government not to pursue an investigation or intervene in a related case, and we frequently dissuade law enforcement agencies from filing charges during the investigative phase. As necessary, we also seek to convince qui tam relators that litigating on their own will not result in success. To accomplish these goals, we implement an appropriate internal investigation designed to elicit the facts and circumstances surrounding the conduct at issue and assist companies in responding appropriately to government inquiries. Our findings frequently enable us to resolve False Claims Act cases long before trial and without protracted litigation.
There are times when matters should and do proceed to court. With one of the strongest trial teams in the field, we regularly obtain victories for clients through pre-trial motions, at trial, and/or on appeal. We have won numerous benchmark judicial decisions that have helped shape the law to the advantage of our clients, and regularly draw on our negotiating skills to craft settlements that avoid suspension or debarment by federal agencies.
Our lawyers have developed long-standing relationships with numerous Department of Justice officials responsible for False Claims Act prosecutions and policies, and regularly lobby Congress on behalf of industries affected by the False Claims Act.
As counselors, we have worked with a number of clients to install necessary internal procedures and corrective actions that can help them prevent noncompliance or address potential violations quickly and effectively. Many qui tam relators include wrongful termination or other retaliatory claims in their lawsuit; with this in mind, we frequently team with our Labor & Employment Group to help employers avoid running afoul of those protections and, where necessary, defend the employment aspects of the case.