Claire Sylvia and Colette Matzzie in Federal News Radio, 6/20/16.
“The decision puts to rest the argument that a contract or statute must identify a requirement as a condition of payment in order for liability to exist. The ‘express condition of payment’ argument that government contractors use to avoid liability now is dead,” said Claire Sylvia and Colette Matzzie partners at the whistleblower law firm Phillips & Cohen in a statement.
“Although defense lawyers will likely seize on one aspect of the decision – the court’s observation that the government’s payment of a claim when it knows that the healthcare provider or company hasn’t complied with certain conditions can be used as evidence that the noncompliance wasn’t relevant – government payment wouldn’t necessarily be grounds to dismiss a case. The reality is that the government often pays contractors for good reasons, such as a need to ensure that the military or a hospital has vital equipment, even in the face of noncompliance with important requirements. In addition, the government often pays without knowing that a claim for payment was false, which is why the False Claims Act and whistleblowers are so important.”