In the face of a bid for a dismissal, a government contractor for the city of Los Angeles is fighting to have his False Claims Act suit worth $1.4 billion against AT&T proceed. In the case, he alleges the company purposefully denied the various federal government discounts given out to commercial customers.
The whistleblower argued that the case should proceed, as it adequately alleges that AT&T was guilty of wrongful billing of the federal government by not giving it the same discounts as commercial customers, which is required by federal law. AT&T has argued the whistleblower’s claims are mere speculation without any corroborating evidence.
However, the plaintiff argues he is able to explain exactly how AT&T and a number of subsidiary firms violated these rules, saying he has specific inside knowledge of the rates given to commercial clients versus the federal government. He also added that at this stage of the claim, he is not yet required to provide hard evidence.
The lawsuit was initially filed in 2013, but the first version was dismissed by a U.S. District Court judge because it only involved government contracts at the city and state level, and not the federal level as required for an FCA suit. The new complaint contains most of the same allegations as the previous version, but now suggests false claims were sent out to over 700 federal agencies. The claims could total more than $2.6 billion in fraudulent billing.
It is not clear yet how the case will proceed or if it will end up being worth the enormous $1.4 billion, but it could be a significant news story moving forward because it involves one of the largest companies in the United States.
For more information on how FCA-related lawsuits work, meet with the knowledgeable Dallas attorneys at Whistleblower Law for Managers today.