Robert Huffman Talks to Law360 on DOJ Opposition to SCOTUS Review of FCA Case

Akin Gump litigation partner Robert Huffman, who heads the firm’s government contracts practice, was quoted by Law360 for its article “DOJ Asks Justices To Reject Potential Landmark FCA Case” on that department’s opposition to the Court’s consideration of a case in which the 4th Circuit has ruled that the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA) supersedes the False Claims Act.

According to the article, KBR Inc. had requested the Court review the 4th Circuit decision in a case in which Halliburton and KBR are accused by a relator of cheating the U.S. government on bills for work done in Iraq.

Huffman acknowledged that DOJ’s opposition is not surprising, but thinks this issue is one on which the agency would want the Court to opine and, perhaps, cement the 4th Circuit’s interpretation: “A case could be made that they might be better off in having the court review this issue in a case involving KBR in wartime, on a wartime contract where outright fraud has been alleged. As we get further and further from active hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, the sweeping nature of the WSLA will become more apparent.”

He also noted, “This issue will percolate throughout the entire federal court system if the Supreme Court declines to decide this issue.”

Huffman pointed to the DOJ’s brief filed in this case as a guide to issues on which the agency may press in other cases as well as to its approach in handling the inconsistencies that can arise in statutes such as the WSLA.  “It's instructive to the rest of us in how you handle those nagging little inconsistencies, which always come up in litigation. It's a very professional job,” he said.

To read more on Robert Huffman’s views on this case at the time of the 4th Circuit ruling, please click here.