United States of America v. Physicians Pain Specialists of Alabama, P.C. et al
ORDER granting 125 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. All claims asserted against Castle Medical, LLC are dismissed with prejudice. Signed by District Judge William H. Steele on 10/27/2017. (tgw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ex rel. )
LORI L. CARVER,
) CIVIL ACTION 13-0392-WS-N
PHYSICIANS’ PAIN SPECIALISTS OF )
ALABAMA, P.C., et al.,
This matter is before the Court on the motion of defendant Castle Medical,
LLC (“Castle”) for judgment on the pleadings. (Doc. 125). The parties have filed
briefs in support of their respective positions, (Docs. 125, 133, 136), and the
motion is ripe for resolution. After careful consideration, the Court concludes that
the motion is due to be granted.
The relator in this False Claims Act case was employed by defendant
Physicians Pain Specialists of Alabama, P.C. (“Pain”). In August 2013, she filed
this action against Pain and against the two doctors (“Ruan” and “Couch”) who
owned Pain. (Doc. 1). In August 2014, she filed a first amended complaint that
added a pharmacy as a defendant. (Doc. 8). In October 2016, the government
filed its notice of non-intervention. (Doc. 24). The relator then filed a second
amended complaint that added four more defendants, including Castle. (Doc. 29).
In December 2016, the government gave notice of non-intervention as to this
pleading. (Doc. 30).
Of the eight defendants named in the second amended complaint, only
Castle continues the fight. The three defendants added along with Castle were
dismissed without prejudice on the relator’s unopposed request, and the other
defendants have suffered entry of default. (Docs. 93, 99-100, 122-23).
The second amended complaint is 56 pages long. It incorporates the
relator’s Supplemental Disclosure Statement of Material Evidence (“Disclosure
Statement”), (id. at 22), itself 37 pages long. (Doc. 29-1). The parties agree that
these documents allege nine different schemes against varying sets of defendants.
(Doc. 133 at 15; Doc. 136 at 2). Only one of these schemes implicates Castle.
Similarly, while the second amended complaint asserts eight causes of action, only
three are alleged against Castle.
The alleged scheme, in a nutshell, is that Castle and Ruan reached and
fulfilled an agreement pursuant to which Ruan, in exchange for monthly payments
of $7,000, referred to Castle all urine drug screen (“UDS”) testing. This
arrangement is said to violate both the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute.
Count III alleges that Castle violated the False Claims Act by violating the Stark
Law. Count IV alleges that Castle violated the False Claims Act by violating the
Anti-Kickback Statute. Count VIII alleges that Castle conspired with Pain and
other defendants to violate the False Claims Act. (Doc. 29 at 42-46, 52-54).
Castle’s motion for judgment on the pleadings is brought pursuant to Rule
12(c). Castle argues thereunder that Counts III, IV and VIII fail to state a claim on
which relief against Castle can be granted. Castle also argues that these counts are
not pleaded with the specificity required by Rule 9(b). (Doc. 125 at 1, 5).
“Judgment on the pleadings is proper when no issues of material fact exist,
and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law based on the
substance of the pleadings and any judicially noticed facts.” Cunningham v.
District Attorney’s Office, 592 F.3d 1237, 1255 (11th Cir. 2010) (internal quotes
omitted). “We accept all the facts in the complaint as true and view them in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Id. The Court “need not accept as
true, however, conclusory legal allegations made in the complaint.” Andrx
Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Elan Corp., 421 F.3d 1227, 1230 n.1 (11th Cir. 2005).
The parties agree that the adequacy of a pleading challenged under Rule 12(c) is
measured and determined as it is for a challenge under Rule 12(b)(6). (Doc. 125
at 6; Doc. 133 at 9). “In order to survive a motion to dismiss, … claims of fraud
… also must satisfy the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(b).” Ziemba v. Cascade
International, Inc., 256 F.3d 1194, 1202 (11th Cir. 2001).
With nuances and exceptions not relevant here, the Stark Law prohibits a
physician from making a referral, for services otherwise covered under Medicare,
to an entity with which he has a financial relationship. 42 U.S.C. § 1395nn(a)(1).
The Stark Law also prohibits the payment of any Medicare claim for services
provided in violation of this provision. Id. § 1395nn(g)(1). The Anti-Kickback
Statute makes it a felony to offer or pay any remuneration to induce a person to
refer an individual for the furnishing of any service for which payment may be
made under a federal health care program. 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(2)(A). Castle
concedes that violation of the Stark Law or the Anti-Kickback Statute can support
a claim under the False Claims Act. (Doc 125 at 7). See McNutt ex rel. United
States v. Haleyville Medical Supplies, Inc., 423 F.3d 1256, 1257, 1259 (11th Cir.
2005) (violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute can form the basis for a False
Claims Act claim); see also United States ex rel. Kosenske v. Carlisle HMA, Inc.,
554 F.3d 88, 94 (3rd Cir. 2009) (“Falsely certifying compliance with the Stark or
Anti-Kickback Acts in connection with a claim submitted to a federally funded
insurance program is actionable under the FCA.”).
Castle raises a number of arguments in support of its motion, but one is
dispositive. “[T]he False Claims Act is a fraud statute for the purposes of Rule
9(b).” United States ex rel. Clausen v. Laboratory Corp. of America, Inc., 290
F.3d 1301, 1309 (11th Cir. 2002) (internal quotes omitted). Therefore, “complaints
alleging violations of the False Claims Act are governed by Rule 9(b).” Corsello
v. Lincare, Inc., 428 F.3d 1008, 1012 (11th Cir. 2005); accord United States ex rel.
Walker v. R&F Properties, Inc., 433 F.3d 1349, 1360 (11th Cir. 2005). As Castle
asserts, the second amended complaint does not satisfy the particularity standard
of that rule.
“To state a claim under the False Claims Act with particularity, the
complaint must allege facts as to time, place, and substance of the defendant’s
alleged fraud, and the details of the defendant’s allegedly fraudulent acts, when
they occurred, and who engaged in them.” Corsello, 428 F.3d at 1012 (internal
quotes omitted). There are two parts to this burden. First, the plaintiff must
“provid[e] the ‘who,’ what,’ ‘where,’ ‘when,’ and ‘how’ of improper practices.”
Id. at 1014. Second – and this is the critical point in this case – she must “allege
the ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘where,’ ‘when,’ and ‘how’ of fraudulent submissions to the
“The False Claims Act does not create liability merely for a health care
provider’s disregard of Government regulations or improper internal policies
unless, as a result of such acts, the provider knowingly asks the Government to
pay amounts it does not owe.” Clausen, 290 F.3d at 1311. “Without the
presentment of such a claim, … there is simply no actionable damage to the public
fisc as required under the False Claims Act.” Id. (emphasis in original). “The
submission of a claim is thus … the sine qua non of a False Claims Act violation.”
Id. “As such, Rule 9(b) … does not permit a False Claims Act plaintiff merely to
describe a private scheme in detail but then to allege simply and without any stated
reasons for his belief that claims requesting illegal payments must have been
submitted, were likely submitted or should have been submitted to the
Government.” Id. Rather, “[b]ecause it is the submission of a fraudulent claim
that gives rise to liability under the False Claims Act, that submission must be
pleaded with particularity and not inferred from the circumstances.” Corsello, 428
F.3d at 1013. At a minimum, “some indicia of reliability must be given in the
complaint to support the allegation of an actual false claim for payment being
made to the Government.” Clausen, 290 F.3d at 1311 (emphasis in original).
Firm enforcement of Rule 9(b) in this context “ensures that the relator’s strong
financial incentive to bring an FCA claim – the possibility of recovering between
fifteen and thirty percent of a treble damages award – does not precipitate the
filing of frivolous suits.” United States ex rel. Atkins v. McInteer, 470 F.3d 1350,
1360 (11th Cir. 2006).
Counts III and IV allege generally that Castle unlawfully submitted claims
to Medicare for goods and services supplied as a result of the referrals and
kickbacks made unlawful by the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute. (Doc.
29 at 43, ¶ 63; id. at 45, ¶ 73).1 The relator points to nothing in the body of the
second amended complaint that provides any factual support for the allegation that
Castle actually submitted false claims. Instead, she points to her attached
Disclosure Statement for the proposition that Pain’s billing department supervisor
told her that “Medicare comprises approximately 60% of the practice’s thirdparty-payor revenue.” (Doc. 29-1 at 3).2 According to the relator, this single
Counts III and IV also allege that Pain, Ruan and Couch billed Medicare for
services furnished pursuant to the unlawful referrals and kickbacks. (Doc. 29 at 43, ¶ 65;
id. at 45-46, ¶¶ 72-73). The relator does not explain why these defendants would be
billing Medicare for services provided by Castle but, in any event, she makes clear in her
brief that Castle’s liability under these counts is based only on the submission of claims
by Castle. (Doc. 133 at 20-21 (“The complaint also specifies the method of determining
false claims at issue during the relevant time period – namely, … all claims submitted to
Medicare by Castle for UDS services referred by Couch and Ruan from February, 2013
to May, 2015.”) (emphasis added)).
In its reply brief, Castle argues the Court cannot consider the Disclosure
Statement because it does not constitute a “written instrument” for purposes of Rule
10(c). (Doc. 136 at 2-4). However, it was Castle that first directed the Court to the
Disclosure Statement, inviting the Court at least six times in its principal brief to review
specific portions of that document. (Doc. 125 at 11, 13, 14, 15, 18-19). It was also
Castle that advised the Court it could consider “those documents that are attached to the
pleadings.” (Id. at 7). Having opened the door to the Court’s consideration of the
Disclosure Statement, Castle cannot now force it shut. But the Court need consider only
those particular portions of this voluminous document specifically cited by the parties.
statement provides indicia of reliability sufficient to survive scrutiny under Rule
9(b). (Doc. 133 at 14, 15, 16, 17-18, 26). The statement, however, plainly will
not carry the heavy burden the relator places upon it.3
First, the statement does not, as the relator asserts in her brief, assert with
particularity that 60% of Pain’s patients were covered by Medicare. All it says is
that a majority of Pain’s revenue (not patients) from third-party payors (not all
payors, including uninsured patients and the uninsured expenses of insured
patients) comes from Medicare.4 For all this statement shows, Pain might have
had relatively few Medicare patients, with those patients responsible for a
disproportionately high percentage of the practice’s third-party payor revenue.
For all this statement shows, Pain’s patient base might be predominantly selfpaying.
The relator asks the Court to take judicial notice of an affidavit submitted in
support of an application for a search warrant in the doctor defendants’ criminal case.
(Doc. 133 at 13 n.4). As noted, the Court may consider judicially noticed facts in
resolving a Rule 12(c) motion, Cunningham, 592 F.3d at 1255, and records in other
judicial proceedings may sometimes be judicially noticed. E.g., Cash Inn, Inc. v.
Metropolitan Dade County, 938 F.2d 1239, 1243 (11th Cir. 1991). But even if the Court
may properly take judicial notice of the affidavit and the factual assertions made therein,
it can neither take judicial notice of the accuracy of those assertions nor transport those
assertions into the second amended complaint. E.g., Bryant v. Avado Brands, Inc., 187
F.3d 1271, 1279-80 (11th Cir. 1999); United States v. Jones, 29 F.3d 1549, 1553 (11th Cir.
1994). These and other cases (including those cited by the relator) reflect that judicially
noticed facts can be utilized to determine if the complaint states a claim for relief, but
they do not suggest such facts can be used to satisfy Rule 9(b) when the complaint itself
does not do so and the complaint does not purport to incorporate the extrinsic document.
The relator identifies no authority to the contrary. In any event, the factual assertions
made in the affidavit do not address, and therefore do not rectify, the fatal flaw in the
relator’s pleading as discussed in text.
The relator assumes rather than demonstrates that percentage of revenue
correlates perfectly with percentage of patient base, (Doc. 133 at 16, 18), but she offers
no justification for that assumption. It is not difficult to envision that older patients
eligible for Medicare incur greater medical expenses on average than younger patients
not covered by that program.
Even assuming that a significant percentage of Pain’s patient base is
covered by Medicare, the statement says nothing about the only patients that
matter – those obtaining UDS testing. Such testing is typically done at the request
of an employer or substance abuse treatment facility, while Medicare generally
covers persons at least 65 years of age or with permanent disabilities. It thus may
be that UDS testing of Pain’s patients skews towards patients not covered by
Medicare; certainly the relator has provided no reason to believe otherwise.5 In
addition, the relator has pointed to no allegation regarding the size of either Pain’s
patient base or of the subset of that class that received UDS testing by Castle.
For all these reasons, it is doubtful the relator has pleaded with adequate
particularity that Castle performed any UDS testing on any Medicare patients
referred from Pain under the alleged referral/kickback arrangement. The
ultimately fatal flaw in her pleading, however, is her patent failure to plead with
particularity that, assuming it performed such UDS testing, Castle then billed the
government for such services.
The relator admits she never worked for Castle,6 so she plainly has no
firsthand awareness of Castle’s billing practices. Nor does she assert that anyone
at Castle ever provided her any information regarding those practices. Instead, the
relator relies exclusively on the assumption that, if Castle performed UDS testing
on Medicare patients, it must have billed Medicare for those tests. While the
assumption is not illogical, it falls far short of pleading submission to Medicare
with the particularity required by Rule 9(b).
In Clausen, the relator alleged only that the defendant’s practices “resulted
in the submission of false claims for payment to the United States.” 290 F.3d at
The relator again simply assumes that those sent to Castle for testing
“necessarily included” Medicare patients. (Doc. 133 at 17-18). Indeed, she mechanically
posits, without any defensible justification, that Medicare was the “predominant payor”
for the patients referred to Castle. (Id. at 1).
(Doc. 29 at 16, ¶ 28.1). Instead, she was employed as clinical supervisor for
Pain. (Id. at 8, ¶ 9).
1312. No sample claim was provided, no amount of any claim was identified, and
the complaint described “[n]o policies about billing or even second-hand
information about billing practices.” Id. The Eleventh Circuit held the pleading
inadequate. As noted, a relator cannot rest simply on her ipse dixit that false
claims “must have been submitted, were likely submitted, or should have been
submitted.” Id. at 1311. “[W]e cannot … presume what [the defendant’s] billing
policies were and assume [the defendant] actually billed the Government in whole
or in part for all tests it took the trouble to order ….” Id. at 1313 n.23 (internal
quotes omitted). More generally, “[w]e cannot make assumptions about a False
Claims Act defendant’s submission of actual claims to the Government ….” Id. at
1312 n.21. Not even a “pattern of improper practices of the defendants leads to
the inference that fraudulent claims were submitted to the government ….”
Corsello, 428 F.3d at 1013. These pronouncements make perfectly clear that the
mere fact the defendant performed a test on a Medicare patient does not
adequately support an allegation the defendant submitted a claim for the test.
That, however, is precisely the mental leap on which the relator exclusively relies.
As in this case, the relator in Clausen was a “corporate outsider.” 290 F.3d
at 1314. “But, while an insider might have an easier time obtaining information
about billing practices and meeting the pleading requirements under the False
Claims Act, neither the Federal Rules nor the Act offer any special leniency under
these particular circumstances ….” Id.7
The relator cites a number of cases in support of her position, (Doc. 133 at
10-13, 19-21), but none of them can rescue her claims. It is true that “[w]e
The Clausen Court suggested a more lenient standard might be appropriate if the
evidence of fraud “was uniquely held by the defendant.” 290 F.3d at 1314 n.25. The
relator does not invoke this lower standard and thus cannot claim any benefit from it. In
any event, Clausen ruled that the complaint was ineligible for consideration under this
standard because the relator could obtain from the government itself information
reflecting its receipt of claims from the defendant, id., and that conclusion would appear
to apply equally here.
evaluate whether the allegations of a complaint contain sufficient indicia of
reliability to satisfy Rule 9(b) on a case-by-case basis,” Atkins, 470 F.3d at 1358,
but this case is captured by Clausen. Indeed, it is also captured by Atkins, where a
complaint failed to satisfy Rule 9(b) when it merely alleged the defendants
submitted false claims and when the relator claimed no firsthand knowledge of
such submissions, was not involved in billing, coding, filing or submitting claims
at the one facility where he worked, and had “never stepped foot” in other
facilities named as defendants. Id. at 1359.
It is likewise true that “[a] relator can also provide the required indicia of
reliability by showing that he personally was in a position to know that actual false
claims were submitted to the government and had a factual basis for his alleged
personal knowledge.” United States ex rel. Mastej v. Health Management
Associates, Inc., 591 Fed. Appx. 693, 707 (11th Cir. 2014). The relator, however,
was nowhere near being in a position to know whether Castle actually submitted
false claims.8 Similarly, while “a relator with direct, first-hand knowledge of the
defendants’ submission of false claims gained through her employment with the
The relator in Mastej had been vice-president for six years of the parent
company defendant and then CEO of one hospital defendant for eight months. As vicepresident, he attended many meetings where the billing and submission of claims to
Medicare was discussed, and as CEO he was familiar with the hospital’s Medicare
patients, services and revenues and gained personal knowledge of the other hospital
defendant’s submission of false claims from conversation with the CEO of that hospital.
591 Fed. Appx. at 695-96, 707-08. The experience and knowledge of the relator here
does not remotely resemble that of the relator in Mastej.
Even in Mastej, the necessary indicia of reliability disappeared the moment the
relator left the defendants’ employment, and after that point he could not plead with
particularity either that the unlawful practices continued or that the defendants continued
to submit false claims. 591 Fed. Appx. at 709. Here, the relator first identifies Castle as
providing UDS testing pursuant to a referral/kickback arrangement in February 2013,
(Doc. 29-1 at 19), and her employment with Pain ended “a short time” later, (id.), in
April 2013. (Doc. 133 at 15). Applying Mastej here, as the relator requests, requires her
to plead with particularity that Castle submitted false Medicare claims on UDS testing
performed in this narrow two-month window.
defendants may have a sufficient basis for asserting that the defendants actually
submitted false claims,” id. at 704 (citing Walker, 433 F.3d at 1360), the relator
here has no such first-hand knowledge of Castle’s billing practices and was never
employed by Castle.9
It is also generally true that the particularity requirement of Rule 9(b) must
be read with Rule 8(a)(2) (“short and plain statement of the claim”) and Rule
8(e)(1) (“simple, concise, and direct” allegations). Hill v. Morehouse Medical
Associates, Inc., 2003 WL 22019936 at *3 (11th Cir. 2003).10 Rule 8, however,
cannot excuse a failure to plead fraud with the particularity required in False
Claims Act cases by published Eleventh Circuit decisions.11
The relator insists that, whenever relators “involved in management and
decision-making” are “able to allege general – but reliable – information, their
claims regularly survive motions to dismiss even if the allegations are not
hypertechnical and specific.” (Doc. 133 at 11). This is far too broad a statement
to accept at face value. More precisely, managers (or even non-managers) with
sufficiently direct and precise information regarding the defendant’s billing
practices may be able to survive Rule 9(b). None of the relator’s cited cases
The relator in Walker worked for the defendant as a nurse practitioner and knew
from personal experience that she was given no unique provider identification number
(“UPIN”) but instead was always told which doctor’s UPIN she would be billing under.
The office administrator told the relator that the defendant followed the same practice for
all nurse practitioners and physician assistants and always billed their services as having
been rendered under the immediate personal supervision of a physician even though the
relator knew they often did not work under such supervision. 433 F.3d at 1352-53, 1360.
The relator here has never worked for Castle and has been told nothing about its billing
See also Urquilla-Diaz v. Kaplan University, 780 F.3d 1039, 1051 (11th Cir.
2015) (“In an action under the False Claims Act, Rule 8’s pleading standard is
supplemented but not supplanted by” Rule 9(b)).
The relator in Hill worked as a coder and biller for the defendant and observed
false claims being submitted, 2003 WL 22019936 at *1, *4, a situation wholly unlike that
of the relator here.
support the more forgiving rule she espouses,12 and she cannot satisfy the more
demanding standard the Eleventh Circuit maintains.13
As noted, Count VIII alleges that Castle conspired with others to violate the
False Claims Act.14 Castle argues that the inadequate pleading of the substantive
The Court has already addressed Walker, Mastej and Hill. The relator’s only
other appellate authority is United States ex rel. Matheny v. Medco Health Solutions, Inc.,
671 F.3d 1217 (11th Cir. 2012). The relators in Matheny alleged that the defendants, in
an annual report to the government, falsely certified they had complied with their
obligation to return overpayments. Id. at 1221. Because a specific submitted document
was identified, the Eleventh Circuit ruled that Clausen and its progeny did not apply and
that these allegations satisfied Rule 9(b) without additional allegations regarding personal
knowledge of the document’s submission. Id. at 1225. The relator here points to no
specific, unique document as having been submitted to the government.
The relator’s remaining authorities are trial court decisions, most from outside the
Eleventh Circuit. To the doubtful extent they lend colorable support to her position, they
are incapable of superseding the controlling appellate precedent on which this opinion is
In its reply brief, Castle points out an additional assertion in the Disclosure
Statement: that, after Castle became the exclusive lab for UDS testing, “patients began to
complain that they were getting billed by Castle for payments not covered by their
insurance.” (Doc. 29-1 at 19; Doc. 136 at 11-12). Although the relator does not rely on
this statement, the Court considers it because Castle discusses it. While the statement
confirms that Castle billed private insurers for UDS testing, it says nothing about whether
Castle also billed Medicare for such testing.
The relator suggests that Count VIII alleges that Castle conspired to violate the
Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute. (Doc. 133 at 3). While the body of Count VIII
alleges such a conspiracy, it also alleges a conspiracy to violate the False Claims Act.
(Doc. 29 at 53-54). Assuming without deciding that there is such a thing as a separate
cause of action for conspiracy to violate the Stark Law or the Anti-Kickback Statute, the
second amended complaint asserts no such claim. The introduction to the second
amended complaint clarifies that suit is brought to redress “conspiracy to submit … false
and/or fraudulent claims” and “conspiracies to defraud Medicare,” (id. at 4), which
descriptions clearly limit Count VIII to a conspiracy to violate the False Claims Act.
Moreover, the style of Count VIII identifies the statutory basis of the claim as “31 U.S.C.
§ 3729 (3), (4) and (7) [sic],” which implicates only the False Claims Act. In short,
Count VIII injects no conspiracy cause of action other than conspiracy to violate the
False Claims Act in violation of 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1)(C).
claims dooms the conspiracy claim as well. (Doc. 25 at 22-23, 24). The relator
offers no response.
It appears that the Eleventh Circuit requires the actual submission of a false
claim in order to sustain a conspiracy claim under the False Claims Act. First,
“[t]he submission of a claim is … the sine qua non of a False Claims Act
violation.” Clausen, 290 F.3d at 1311. Second, an essential element of a
conspiracy claim is “that the United States suffered damages as a result of the false
or fraudulent claim,” Corsello, 428 F.3d at 1014 (internal quotes omitted), and it is
not easy to see how the government could suffer damage from a conspiracy that
does not result in the submission of a false claim. This is especially so given
Clausen’s statement that, “[w]ithout the presentment of such a [false] claim, …
there is simply no actionable damage to the public fisc as required under the False
Claims Act.” 290 F.3d at 1311 (emphasis in original).
Because Clausen did not involve a conspiracy claim,15 and because
Corsello resolved the conspiracy claim on other grounds,16 they do not directly
answer the question. In Atkins, however, the panel resolved both the substantive
claims and the conspiracy claim on a single ground – the failure to plead with
particularity the submission of a false claim. 470 F.3d at 1354, 1357-60; id. at
1358-59 (“In the case at hand, the complaint fails rule 9(b) for want of sufficient
indicia of reliability to support the assertion that the defendants submitted false
claims.”). The Court therefore concludes that the failure to plead with
particularity the submission of a false claim to the government is fatal to a False
Claims Act conspiracy claim. Because, as discussed above, the second amended
Although the original complaint included such a claim, the first and second
amended complaints – the only pleadings addressed by the Eleventh Circuit – did not.
290 F.3d at 1303-04, 1305-06 & 1304 n.6.
Dismissal of the conspiracy claim was upheld because the complaint contained
no specific allegations of any agreement or overt act. 428 F.3d at 1014.
complaint does not satisfy Rule 9(b) in this regard, the relator’s conspiracy claim
fails along with her substantive claims.
In short, Castle’s motion for judgment on the pleadings is due to be
granted. Castle seeks as relief the dismissal with prejudice of all claims against it
and entry of judgment in its favor. (Doc. 125 at 24). The relator proposes no
For the reasons set forth above, Castle’s motion for judgment on the
pleadings is granted. All claims asserted against Castle are dismissed with
prejudice. Judgment shall be entered in favor of Castle by separate order.17
DONE and ORDERED this 27th day of October, 2017.
s/ WILLIAM H. STEELE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
By statute, an action “may be dismissed only if the court and Attorney General
give written consent to the dismissal and their reasons for consenting.” 31 U.S.C. §
3730(b)(1). The government has not consented to this disposition of the action as to
Castle, but such consent is not required. “The consent requirement in § 3730(b)(1)
applies only to voluntary dismissals.” Jallali v. Nova Southeastern University, Inc., 486
Fed. Appx. 765, 767 (11th Cir. 2012); accord Salmeron v. Enterprise Recovery Systems,
Inc., 579 F.3d 787, 797 n.5 (7th Cir. 2009); United States ex rel. Mergent Services v.
Flaherty, 540 F.3d 89, 91 (2nd Cir. 2008); United States ex rel. Shaver v. Lucas Western
Corp., 237 F.3d 932, 934 (8th Cir. 2001); United States v. Health Possibilities, P.S.C.,
207 F.3d 335, 344 (9th Cir. 2000); United States ex rel. Killingsworth v. Northrop Corp.,
25 F.3d 715, 722 n.5 (9th Cir. 1994).
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