Convicted Virginia dentist loses pro se motion to dismiss False Claims Act suit

by Ben Vernia | July 7th, 2010

In a June 24 decision in United States v. Shelburne, Chief District Judge James P. Jones of the Western District of Virginia denied the motion to dismiss the federal and state False Claims Act complaint brought against a dentist who had previously been convicted of defrauding Medicaid. The court held:

  • The complaint, which alleged 13 specific dates on which false claims were submitted, met the particularity requirement under Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b);
  • Claims submitted to the state’s private Medicaid contractor were claims against the government under the False Claims Act;
  • Laches was unavailable (on Virginia’s claims, because of sovereign immunity; on the United States’ claims, because laches is only a defense against equitable claims);
  • A tolling agreement was valid under Virginia law and the governments’ forbearance of suit was sufficient consideration – and the claims were filed within the extended limitations period;
  • The Double Jeopardy Clause did not bar the civil suit following his criminal conviction;
  • The criminal case did not bar the civil suit on res judicata grounds;
  • It was too early in the suit to determine if a restitution award in the criminal case collaterally estopped the United States from seeking a greater award under the False Claims Act.

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