Friday, July 1, 2016

LIABILITY UNDER FALSE CLAIMS ACT: Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar

Professor Paul T. Hayden's book, "The Law of Torts," is cited in the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion turning on when liability arises under the False Claims Act.

[Excerpt from the opinion]
We need not resolve whether all claims for payment implicitly represent that the billing party is legally entitled to payment. The claims in this case do more than merely demand payment. They fall squarely within the rule that half-truths—representations that state the truth only so far as it goes, while omitting critical qualifying information—can be actionable misrepresentations. A classic example of an actionable half-truth in contract law is the seller who reveals that there may be two new roads near a property he is selling, but fails to disclose that a third potential road might bisect the property. See Junius Constr. Co. v. Cohen, 257 N. Y. 393, 400, 178 N. E. 672, 674 (1931) (Cardozo, J.). “The enumeration of two streets, described as unopened but projected, was a tacit representation that the land to be conveyed was subject to no others, and certainly subject to no others materially affecting the value of the purchase.” Ibid. Likewise, an applicant for an adjunct position at a local college makes an actionable misrepresentation when his resume lists prior jobs and then retirement, but fails to disclose that his “retirement” was a prison stint for perpetrating a $12 million bank fraud. See 3 D. Dobbs, P. Hayden, & H. Bublick, Law of Torts §682, pp. 702–703, and n. 14 (2d ed. 2011) (citing Sarvis v. Vermont State Colleges, 172 Vt. 76, 78, 80–82, 772 A. 2d 494, 496, 497–499 (2001)).

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