Judge rejects U.S. attempt to revive Bollinger FCA suit

gavel 340AUGUST 5, 2013 — A federal judge in the Eastern District of Louisiana last week refused to revive a U.S. Department of Justice False Claims Act suit over the alleged failure of eight U.S. Coast Guard vessels' hulls that Bollinger Shipyards Inc. modified at a cost of roughly of $78 million.

U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance  had dismissed the government's' False Claims Act, common law fraud, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment claims against Bollinger in January (see earlier story).

The government asked for reconsideration, calling her conclusion factually erroneous.

"The government's motion for reconsideration has failed to clearly establish a manifest error of law or fact or presented newly discovered evidence," Judge Vance wrote on August 1. "Instead, the United States simply advances an argument that could have been offered or raised in its briefing on Bollinger's motion to dismiss the first complaint."

Also in its motion for reconsideration, the government argued that Bollinger was unjustly enriched at the expense of the United States. With no other remedy, the government argued, Bollinger should be required to pay restitution. But Judge Vance stood by her decision that the existence of a contract ruled out unjust enrichment as a possible remedy.

With no error of law or new information to bring, the government's motion must be denied, she ruled.

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