Articles Posted in U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Relator filed a qui tam action against Planned Parenthood, alleging that it violated the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, and the Iowa False Claims Act (IFCA), Iowa Code Ann. 685.1-.7, by submitting false or fraudulent claims for Medicaid reimbursement. The district court dismissed the complaint under Rule 9(b). The court concluded that relator has pled sufficiently particularized facts to support her allegations that Planned Parenthood violated the FCA by filing claims for (1) unnecessary quantities of birth control pills, (2) birth control pills dispensed without examinations or without or prior to a physician's order, (3) abortion-related services, and (4) the full amount of services that had already been paid, in whole or in part. The court affirmed the dismissal of relator's claim that Planned Parenthood violated the FCA by instructing patients who experienced abortion-related complications to give false information to medical professionals at other hospitals, causing those medical professionals to unknowingly file claims for services performed in connection with abortions. Because relator failed to provide a factual basis for her knowledge of these alleged false claims, the court was unable to infer that false claims were submitted. Further, the court affirmed the dismissal of relator's upcoding claim. The court's holding with respect to the Rule 9(b) issue, however, should not be read as in any way expressing a view on Planned Parenthood's Rule 12(b)(6) arguments. View "Thayer v. Planned Parenthood" on Justia Law

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Key Medical filed suit alleging that the Agency exceeded its statutory authority when implementing a competitive-bidding system for Medicare's pricing of medical equipment and supplies. Key Medical acknowledges that the governing statute, 42 U.S.C. 1395w-3(b)(11), contains a strongly worded ban on administrative and judicial review. Because the Agency's action was not ultra vires, and because there is an absence of a protected property or liberty interest, Key Medical cannot overcome the bar on review. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal for lack of jurisdiction. View "Key Medical Supply, Inc. v. Sebelius, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, an orthopedic surgeon and former consultant at Stryker, filed suit alleging that Stryker and I-Flow violated the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, by marketing their pain pumps to encourage the placement of pain pumps directly into patients' joint spaces after orthopedic procedures. The court concluded that the district court did not err in concluding that plaintiff's allegations had been publicly disclosed and that plaintiff was not excepted under section 3730(e)(4)(B) as an "original source" of the information. The court rejected plaintiff's claim of procedural error and affirmed the district court's dismissal of the claims under section 3730(e)(4)(A). View "Paulos v. Stryker Corp., et al." on Justia Law

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Nyffeler, a residential construction company, petitioned for review of an adverse agency decision by the Review Commission. The court concluded that the petition was untimely and the district court never had authority to transfer the case to this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1631. Therefore, the court concluded that it had no jurisdiction and dismissed the petition for want of jurisdiction. View "Nyffeler Construction, Inc. v. Secretary of Labor, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, both individually and as the administrator of Bradley Gladden's estate, filed suit against officers and the police chief, alleging that the officers violated Bradley's rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and the Arkansas Civil Rights Act, Ark. Code Ann. 16-123-101 et seq., as well as committed the tort of wrongful death under the Arkansas Wrongful Death Act, Ark. Code Ann. 16-62-101 et seq. Bradley had requested that the officers give him a ride to his sister's house in the next county because he was intoxicated, but the officers instead left him at an isolated off-ramp at the county line, which was the edge of the officers' jurisdiction. The officers instructed Bradley to seek help at a nearby factory. Bradley ended up dying of hypothermia a half-mile from the drop-off, in the opposite direction of the factory. Where the Fourteenth Amendment generally does not give private citizens a constitutional right to police assistance, the court concluded that plaintiff could not establish that a special relationship existed because Bradley accepted a ride from the officers and was sober enough to make this decision rationally; and Bradley cannot avail himself of the constitutional right to police assistance based on a custodial relationship with the state. The court also concluded that Bradley's official capacity claims failed where, assuming that it was the Police Department's custom to give rides to persons in its jurisdictions, plaintiff could not demonstrate an affirmative duty of care. Consequently, plaintiff's state law claims also failed. Accordingly, the court concluded that the district court did not err in granting the officers summary judgment based on qualified immunity, in granting official immunity to all defendants, and dismissing the state-law claims. View "Gladden, Jr. v. Richbourg, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a qui tam suit under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, alleging that KCP&L fraudulently induced the GSA to install an all-electric heating-and-cooling system at the Richard Bolling Federal Building. The court concluded that the district court did not grossly abuse its discretion or make pretrial proceedings fundamentally unfair to relator. On the merits, the court concluded that the district court properly dismissed the building life cycle cost analysis and false-rate claims as publicly disclosed, and correctly granted summary judgment on the gratuities claim. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States ex rel. Kraxberger v. Kansas City Power & Light Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 suit against the County and the sheriff after he was terminated as deputy sheriff. The court concluded, under the Pickering/Connick balancing test, that at least some of plaintiff's campaign speech does not merit First Amendment protection; that even if plaintiff's speech was fully protected by the Constitution, the sheriff could have reasonably believed that the speech would be at least potentially damaging and disruptive of the discipline and harmony of and among coworkers in the sheriff's office and detrimental to the close working relationships and personal loyalties necessary for an effective and trusted local policing operation; considering North Dakota law and well-established federal and state jurisprudence, the sheriff could have logically and rationally believed that his decision to terminate plaintiff was well within his duties as a public official; and that the sheriff was entitled to qualified immunity to shield him from any liability. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's denial of the sheriff's motion for summary judgment. View "Nord v. Walsh County, et al." on Justia Law

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The government filed a forfeiture complaint regarding the Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, an Egyptian mummy cartonnage discovered in 1952 by an archaeologist working for the Egyptian government and registered as government property. The Museum purchased the Mask in 1998 and refused the Egyptian government's repeated requests to return the Mask. The government's notice of appeal included the district court's Order of Dismissal, but the Statement of the Issue section of the government's brief stated that the only issue on appeal is whether the district court abused its discretion in denying a post-dismissal motion for leave to file an amended complaint. The court concluded that the appeal of the Order of Dismissal has been waived, and the court need not be concerned about the truth of the pleaded facts. In this case, the government failed to request leave to amend in the eleven months between the Museum's motion to dismiss and the district court's Order of Dismissal, choosing instead to stand on and defend its original complaint. Therefore, the court concluded that the district court had no reason to question that litigation strategy. Although the government's motion for leave to amend cited both Rule 59(e) and Rule 60(b), the Rule 59(e) motion was untimely. Further, the proper recourse for the government was a direct appeal, not a Rule 60(b) motion. Therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the Rule 60(b) motion. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's procedural ruling. View "United States v. Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against a public transit officer and Metropolitan Council under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the officer violated plaintiff's constitutional rights when the officer arrested plaintiff at a downtown bus stop. The court concluded that the officer had at least arguable probable cause for the arrest based on plaintiff's nonverbal conduct and the officer was entitled to qualified immunity from plaintiff's unlawful arrest claim; though the court agreed that the use of force in this case may have been unreasonable, and acknowledged that plaintiff described being pepper sprayed as a painful experience, plaintiff had not presented sufficient evidence that he suffered more than de minimus injury; therefore, the officer was entitled to qualified immunity on the excessive force claim; the officer was entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiff's retaliatory arrest claim because the officer had at least arguable probable cause for the arrest; but the officer was not entitled to summary judgment based on qualified immunity from plaintiff's retaliatory use of force claim where plaintiff's First Amendment right to make comments and to obtain the officer's badge number was not clearly established at the time. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Peterson v. Kopp, et al." on Justia Law

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Swift County filed suit against Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHFA, alleging that the federal agencies violated state law by failing to pay taxes on the transfers of deeds to real property. The court affirmed the district court's grant of the federal agencies' motion to dismiss because the Exemption Statutes, 12 U.S.C. 1723a(c)(2) and 12 U.S.C. 1452(e), established an exemption from all state taxation. The court concluded that the Exemption Statutes are a valid exercise of Congress's power under the Commerce Clause and the federal agencies are federal instrumentalities, not privately-held corporations. View "Vadnais, et al. v. Federal National Mortgage, et al." on Justia Law