RJO Attorneys Obtain Summary Judgment for Northrop Grumman in Major F-35 False Claims Act Case
In a False Claims Act case that sought several hundred million dollars in recovery from contractors Northrop Grumman Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp., the Northern District of Texas granted summary judgment to the contractors on all counts. A retired compliance monitor at RJO client Northrop Grumman alleged that the contractors improperly used funds from other budgets to mask cost overruns on the F-35 System Development and Demonstration contract in order to obtain award fees to which the contractors were not entitled. The court agreed with the RJO team’s arguments that how the contractors used the budgets in question had been publicly disclosed before the whistleblower brought his claim, and that the former monitor did not meet the False Claims Act’s “original source” definition, a status which would have saved his ability to bring the claims. In particular, the court determined that because the relator’s job responsibilities required him to provide his findings regarding the contractors’ use of budgets directly to the government, the plaintiff did not meet the original source requirement that he voluntarily provide to the government the information on which his claims were based.
The case is United States of America ex rel. Paul J. Solomon v. Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. (PDF of Decision). RJO attorneys Neil O’Donnell, Dennis Callahan and Jeff Chiow represented Northrop Grumman. Opinion