Litigation & Dispute Resolution

BLOG: $4.5 Million False Claims Act Settlement Underscores DOJ's Focus on Fraud in Small Business Programs

July 1, 2020
By Jacqueline K. Unger
During the webinar on "The False Claims Act: 2019 Takeaways and 2020 Trends" earlier this year, Matt Feinberg and Jackie Unger noted that the SBA's small business programs are fertile ground for False Claims Act (FCA) enforcement and predicted increased enforcement in 2020 and beyond. A recent settlement has shown this to be true and illustrates that the risk of FCA liability can extend to affiliates and business partners of purported small businesses that contract with the federal government.
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BLOG: New Judicial Order Offers Clarity on Maryland Statutes of Limitations Impacted by COVID-19

June 18, 2020
By Matthew E. Feinberg
Early during the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of state-level court systems, including Maryland's courts, declared judicial emergencies and issued orders automatically tolling, or postponing, the expiration of statutes of limitations for claims filed within those states. These orders offered plaintiffs a reprieve from the strict filing deadlines. Now, as Maryland begins the process of reopening its court systems to the public, the state's highest court has issued an order offering clarity as to the new filing deadlines for the expiration of statutes of limitations for claims.
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BLOG: 5 Steps for Preserving and Preparing Your Miller Act Claim

June 11, 2020
By Camilla J. Hundley
As the United States economy continues to grapple with the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic, many contractors are concerned about making and receiving payment for work. The Miller Act provides the process for subcontractors to ensure they are paid for their work on federal construction projects, but they must be familiar with its requirements and deadlines to seek payment. This guide outlines five steps subcontractors and material suppliers should take to ensure they preserve their right to recover payment under the Miller Act.
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BLOG: Judgment on the Pleadings: An Underutilized and Potentially Devastating Tool in the Litigator's Pre-Trial Arsenal

May 14, 2020
By Matthew E. Kreiser
Motions for judgment on the pleadings are an often misunderstood and underutilized tool in the litigator's arsenal. A motion made under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) (or a similar state rule of procedure where available) can be used to attack the sufficiency of an opponent's pleadings and the viability of their underlying claims prior to trial. When prompted, most defense litigators will often identify pre-answer motions to dismiss or motions for summary judgment as the preferred pre-trial vehicles to dispose of a plaintiff's claims. However, Rule 12(c) provides another effective, and potentially devastating, tool for litigators to dispose of claims and cripple their opponent's case, and can be incorporated into their litigation strategy and regular practice.
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BLOG: "Constructive Demotion" Claim Under Title VII Gains Traction in 4th Circuit District Courts

March 11, 2020
By Paul W. Mengel III
While the viability of a claim of "constructive demotion" under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) has yet to be determined by the Fourth Circuit, a series of cases in district courts within the Circuit suggest that such might not be the case for long. In one such recent case, Judge Conrad of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia denied a defendant truck driver training company's motion to dismiss a constructive demotion claim brought by a female instructor. Diana Salmons, the plaintiff in Salmons v. Commercial Driver Services, Inc., Case No. 7:19-cv-00532, claimed she was subjected to a pervasive pattern of sexual harassment at the hands of her male counterparts and, as a result, she brought a five-count complaint alleging sexual harassment, hostile work environment, discriminatory and retaliatory constructive demotion and constructive discharge, and sex-based wage discrimination, in violation of Title VII. Employers should be aware of the increased number of constructive demotion cases and the courts' rulings on these matters, as well as conduct regular sexual harassment training to prevent this sort of behavior from occurring in the workplace.
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