1215 K Street, 14th Floor, California Room,
Sacramento, CA 95814
- Timothy Sandefur, Principal Attorney
- Anastasia Boden, Staff Attorney
- Jonathan Wood, Staff Attorney
On Tuesday, May 26, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc v U.S. ex rel Carter, a case in which a private relator sought to bring a False Claims Act lawsuit against a government contractor for actions beyond of the statute of limitations and that had been the subject of another relator’s lawsuit. The Supreme Court held that the claims outside of the statute of limitations could not be brought using a criminal tolling statute, but permitted other claims to proceed, despite having been dismissed in other lawsuits.
Critics have noted that this ruling could make settling False Claims Act lawsuits brought by relators riskier for contractors. Why settle with one relator if another relator can then bring the same claim, given what the Supreme Court deemed the “interpretive challenges” of the False Claims Act? Also left unaddressed by the Supreme Court’s ruling is the Fourth Circuit’s broad holding that the United States is “at war” for purposes of the tolling statute even when there has neither been a formal declaration of war nor an authorization for the use of military force. Could contractors face criminal indictments for decades-old invoices so long as the United States remains involved in any conflict abroad? Our speakers will provide expert analysis of the case and answer questions from the callers.
Professor Greg Dolin of the University of Baltimore School of Law discusses the dispute in Kimble v. Marvel, a case argued before the Supreme Court in March. Petitioner Kimble invented and patented a toy. Respondent Marvel contractually agreed to pay royalties on that patent that included a period of time after the expiration of the patent. The Court is being asked to overrule a precedent dating back to 1964 which held such agreements to be unlawful per se.
As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.
On April 29, the United States Supreme Court issued a 5-4 opinion in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar allowing states to bar candidates for judgeships from personally asking for campaign donations. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts noted the importance of “public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary,” concluding that “States may regulate judicial elections differently than they regulate political elections, because the role of judges differs from the role of politicians.” In dissent, Justice Scalia noted that the majority disregarded “one settled First Amendment principle after another” to reach its result.
On Wednesday, April 29, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Glossip v. Gross. The case turns on the efficacy of the first drug in Oklahoma’s three-drug execution protocol, the subject of controversy after a highly publicized botched execution last year; critics claim that this drug is unable to reliably produce the deep, coma-like unconsciousness necessary to avoid the pain and suffering that can result from the administration of the second and third drugs, and that the protocol violates the Eighth Amendment because of this. Oral arguments were expected to be revealing as to whether the court will focus narrowly on the specific execution method in question or range more broadly over important constitutional issues related to the death penalty.