American Bar Association
Media Alerts
Media Alerts - United States v. Aleff - 8th Circuit
Decrease font size
Increase font size
December 3, 2014
  United States v. Aleff - 8th Circuit
Headline Eighth Circuit panel affirms summary judgment and penalty in favor of the United States in False Claims Act case

Area of Law False Claims Act

Issue(s) Presented Whether the district court properly granted summary judgment to the United States in a False Claims Act case when the individual defendants previously pled guilty to a fraud conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286, and whether a $1.3 million penalty in the False Claims Act case violated the Double Jeopardy or Excessive Fines Clauses of the Constitution

Brief Summary The individual defendants pled guilty to a conspiracy to defraud the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286. The court in the § 286 case ordered the defendants to pay just over $300,000 in restitution.

The United States then additionally filed a False Claims Act case under 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-33. In that matter, the district court ordered the defendants to pay a $1.3 million penalty.

In the Eighth Circuit, the defendants first objected to the use of their guilty pleas from the § 286 proceeding to preclude them from litigating liability in the False Claims Act case on the ground that no issues were actually litigated in the first proceeding. The Eighth Circuit panel concluded, however, that the plea of guilty in the § 286 proceeding necessarily admitted a conspiracy to knowingly present a false claim to the government under the False Claims Act.

The defendants next objected to the assessment of the $1.3 million penalty in the False Claims Act case on the ground that it violated the U.S. Constitution Double Jeopardy Clause prohibition against multiple criminal punishments for the same offense. But the Eighth Circuit panel concluded that treble damages and fixed penalties under the False Claims Act are compensatory, not punitive.

The defendants finally objected to the assessment of the $1.3 million penalty in the False Claims Act case on the ground that it violated the U.S. Constitution Excessive Fines Clause. The Eighth Circuit panel concluded that the penalty could be punitive in nature under that Clause, but then ruled that the penalty was not in fact excessive in the circumstances of the case.

The full text of the opinion may be found at nullhttp://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/14/11/141527P.pdf

Panel Circuit Judges Murphy, Melloy, and Benton

Date of Issued Opinion November 20, 2014

Decided Affirmed

Docket Number 14-1527

Counsel Cheryl Schrempp Dupris for the United States and Jason Chandler Farrington for Defendants

Author Judge Benton

Case Alert Circuit Supervisor Bradley Clary, University of Minnesota Law School

    Posted By: Bradley Clary @ 12/03/2014 09:53 AM     8th Circuit  

FuseTalk Enterprise Edition - © 1999-2018 FuseTalk Inc. All rights reserved.

Discussion Board Usage Agreement

Back to Top