In United States ex rel. King v. DSE, Inc., et al., No. 8:08-cv-02416-SDM-EAJ (M.D. Fla. May 17, 2011), the Middle District Court of Florida denied various defense contractors’ motions to dismiss for failure to plead fraud with particularity. The defendant contractors are weapons manufacturers retained by the government for the supply of grenades. The relator, a former quality control manager for one of the defendants, alleged that defendants failed to follow proper quality control procedures and shipped defective grenades that failed to meet contract specifications. Defendants contended that the relator failed to allege the dates and amounts of the false billing or payments, and that relator’s claims were spurious because he worked for only one of the defendants and for only several months at most.
Nevertheless, the court found that allegations of improper quality control procedures against the contractors were sufficient in this case to satisfy FCA’s heightened pleading requirements. In so holding, the court distinguished the case from the healthcare fraud context where an FCA plaintiff must allege with particularity a claim or bill for payment submitted to the government. As the court stated, “in the medical context the harm to the government arises from the act of billing” whereas improper quality control procedures and defective military equipment “distinctly harm the government entirely distinct from any financial impact.”