Murphy Anderson Wins $24 Million FCA Award
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit handed down a victory for False Claims Act Relators and Murphy Anderson clients Kurt Bunk and Kurt Ammons this morning. In August 2011, the Relators won a jury verdict in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia after a 3-week trial against Belgian moving and transport giant Gosselin Worldwide Moving and affiliated companies. The case involved false claims related to a bid-rigging scheme among various European and American moving companies with contracts to move the personal property of American military personnel, including both moves within Germany and across the Atlantic.
While the Relators won a jury verdict, the District Court denied them recovery of civil penalties on the basis that the assessment would violate the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment. The Fourth Circuit opinion reverses the District Court decision, and remands for entry of an award of $24 million, which the Court deems consistent with the Constitution. The Court also rejected Defendants' arguments that the Relators lacked standing to sue for civil penalties.
The Relators' appeal was briefed and argued by Michael T. Anderson. Ann Lugbill, Mark Hanna and Michelle Woolley also assisted, as did trial counsel Richard Greenberg and John Petite of Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale in St. Louis. The case was filed by Ann Lugbill and Mark Hanna in 2002.