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Kayleigh Scalzo

Kayleigh Scalzo represents government contractors in high-stakes litigation matters with the government and other private parties. She has litigated bid protests in a wide variety of forums, including the Government Accountability Office, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, FAA Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, federal and state agencies, and state courts. She is also a co-head of the firm’s Claims, Disputes, and Other Litigation Affinity Group within the Government Contracts practice.

Kayleigh has particular experience navigating state and local procurement matters at both ends of the contract lifecycle, including bid protests and termination matters. In recent years, she has advised and represented clients in connection with procurements in Alaska, Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Kayleigh is a frequent speaker on bid protest issues, including the unique challenges of protests in state and local jurisdictions.

This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit declined to revive a False Claims Act qui tam suit against Baxter Healthcare Corporation, agreeing with the district court that the relators were not the “first to file.” The case is United States ex rel. Ven-A-Care of the Florida Keys, Inc. v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., Nos. 13-1732, 13-2083 (1st Cir. Dec. 1, 2014).

The first-to-file rule prevents an aspiring FCA relator from filing a suit that is similar or related to an already-pending qui tam suit. It derives from 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(5), which provides that “no person other than the Government may intervene or bring a related action based on the facts underlying” a pending qui tam suit. In the First Circuit, the first-to-file rule is jurisdictional, which allowed the appeals court here to dispose of the case on that ground alone and avoid a myriad of tricky issues wrapped up in this procedurally convoluted case. As the court noted, however, it is less clear whether other jurisdictions, like the D.C. Circuit, consider the first-to-file rule to be jurisdictional.

The would-be relators in this case were a former Baxter employee and an employee of a Baxter customer. In a 2005 suit, they alleged that Baxter, a pharmaceutical company, defrauded the Government by artificially padding the prices of its drugs, which triggered inflated reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid. But a decade earlier, in 1995, a Florida pharmacy had filed a similar qui tam action alleging the same types of claims against multiple pharmaceutical companies, including Baxter. Baxter ultimately settled with the pharmacy, but not until 2011—6 years after the employee-relators filed their case. After extensive procedural skirmishing unrelated to the issue at hand, Baxter asserted that the employee-relators could not maintain their qui tam suit because the Florida pharmacy was the first to file.

Continue Reading First Circuit Finds Pharma Relators’ Suit Ten Years Too Late Under First-to-File Rule

On October 15, 2014, the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) released a report on U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) contract spending between 2000 and 2013. The report analyzes publicly available information from the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) and thus does not consider classified contracts, which CSIS estimates to account for up to 10 percent of DOD contract spending.

The CSIS report focuses in particular on the effect of Fiscal Year 2013 sequestration on DOD spending. Overall, DOD-funded contract obligations decreased from 53% of overall DOD spending in 2012 to 49% in 2013, bringing DOD contract spending to its lowest percentage since 2002. The same period saw a 16% decrease in the volume of contract spending—4 times the percentage drop experienced during the budget drawdown from 2009 to 2012—despite the fact that DOD noncontract spending was relatively unchanged between 2012 and 2013.

CSIS measured a number of dimensions of DOD’s spending decreases during the 2012-2013 period:
Continue Reading CSIS Report Exposes Dramatic Decreases in DOD Contract Spending in 2013

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the award of a $50 million tax refund to Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. The court agreed with Fresenius that certain payments in settlement of alleged False Claims Act violations were tax-deductible. The case is Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. v. United States, No. 13-2144 (1st Cir. Aug. 13, 2014).

Fresenius operates dialysis centers within the United States and abroad, and in the mid-1990s its predecessor company faced an array of FCA whistleblower suits and related government investigations. Fresenius eventually settled both criminal and civil matters with the Government, agreeing to pay $385,147,334 to resolve the civil matters.

Fresenius claimed a tax refund based on the amount it paid to settle civil FCA claims. Civil FCA violations normally result in treble damages and a statutory penalty per false claim. Although the Government agreed that Fresenius could deduct an amount equal to single damages ($192,550,517) plus that amount owed to the whistleblowers ($65,800,555), Fresenius sued in the District of Massachusetts to seek a tax refund based on the remaining $126,796,262. A jury concluded that $95,000,000 of the remaining $126,796,262 was “compensatory” in nature and hence deductible, which resulted in a $50,420,512.34 tax refund for Fresenius.

The Government appealed, arguing that amounts paid in settlement of civil FCA claims—other than single damages and whistleblower payments—are nondeductible unless the parties enter into a tax characterization agreement indicating a mutual intent that those sums be deductible. The Government relied on a Ninth Circuit case, Talley Industries Inc. v. Commissioner, 116 F.3d 382 (9th Cir. 1997), in support. Because there was no tax characterization agreement in this case, the Government reasoned, Fresenius was owed no refund.

The First Circuit found the Government’s position unpersuasive in light of “generally accepted principles of tax law” to the contrary. Fresenius’s ability to deduct civil FCA settlement payments did not turn exclusively on the presence or absence of a tax characterization agreement. Instead, the district court had correctly instructed the jury to consider what portion of the settlement was compensatory, rather than punitive, “in terms of the economic realities of make-whole remediation.” Under well-settled rules of tax law, the compensatory portion was deductible.
Continue Reading First Circuit Affirms $50 Million Tax Refund for FCA Settlement Payments

On July 15, 2014, the U.S. Department of Defense (“DOD”) issued a proposed rule that imposes new requirements for third-party audits of three contractor business systems, as well as a requirement for contractors to self-report deficiencies uncovered in these audits or in internal reviews of these business systems. The three business systems at issue are