Schindler Elevator Corporation v. United States ex rel. Daniel Kirk

131 S. Ct. 1885 (2011)

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Schindler Elevator Corporation v. United States ex rel. Daniel Kirk

United States Supreme Court
131 S. Ct. 1885 (2011)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

Daniel Kirk (defendant), a Vietnam War veteran, was employed by Schindler Elevator Corporation (Schindler) (plaintiff) from 1978 until 2003. Schindler entered into hundreds of contracts with the federal government (defendant) pursuant to which Schindler was required to comply with the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1972 (VEVRAA) in order to receive contract payments. Under VEVRAA, Schindler was required to submit annual VETS-100 Reports certifying the number of qualified covered veterans Schindler employed. Several years after Kirk left Schindler, Kirk submitted a request to the Department of Labor (DOL) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) seeking copies of Schindler’s VEVRAA filings from 1998 to 2006. In a written response, the DOL sent Kirk the 99 VETS-100 reports Schindler had submitted in the relevant period and informed Kirk that Schindler had not submitted any VETS-100 reports in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, or 2003. Based on the FOIA reports and Kirk’s personal experiences as a veteran employed by Schindler, Kirk filed a qui tam action under the False Claims Act (FCA) against Schindler, alleging that Schindler had submitted false claims for payment to the government because Schindler falsely certified its compliance with VEVRAA reporting requirements. Schindler moved to dismiss, arguing that Kirk’s claim fell within the FCA’s bar on cases based on public disclosures because (1) Kirk’s FCA claim was based on the documents and information he received from the DOL’s FOIA response; and (2) the DOL’s FOIA response constituted a public disclosure of information in a government report. The district court dismissed Kirk’s FCA action. On appeal, the Second Circuit reversed, holding that a FOIA response was not a government report within the meaning of the FCA’s public-disclosure bar. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thomas, J.)

Dissent (Ginsburg, J.)

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