Ninth Circuit affirms False Claims Act judgment against Nevada doctor

by Ben Vernia | November 5th, 2010

In an unpublished decision on October 28 in United States v. Chen, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a jury verdict finding a doctor liable for violating the False Claims Act in connection with over 3500 consultation claims. In the brief decision, the Court:

  • Rejected the doctor’s argument that the evidence was insufficient; instead, the court held that the government’s introduction of paperwork and expert testimony, in addition to the doctor’s own statements, provided the jury with sufficient grounds to find him liable;
  • Found that the jury had sufficient evidence of his knowing submission of false claims, rejecting his arguments that he relied on his good-faith interpretation of the requirements and on government advice;
  • Upheld the jury verdict on 3507 claims for which the government did not produce any evidence (37 others were “closely examined at trial); the Ninth Circuit declined to address “the potential problems with using sampling and extrapolation to prove FCA violations”, noting that the doctor had conceded that the referral request and services provided were the same for each of the claims.

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