United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and The STATES OF CALIFORNIA, COLORADO, CONNECTICUT, GEORGIA, HAWAII, ILLINOIS, IOWA, MARYLAND, MASSACHUSETTS, NEW YORK, NORTH CAROLINA, VIRGINIA, and WASHINGTON, ex rel. WARREN CHRISTOPHER WALL, Plaintiffs,
BAXTER INTERNATIONAL, INC. and BAXTER HEALTHCARE CORPORATION, Defendants.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL AS TO CLAIMS OF THE UNITED STATES
Reidinger United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on the Stipulation of
Dismissal of the United States and Relator [Doc. 67].
to Rule 41(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the
qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, 31
U.S.C. §§ 3730(b)(1), et seq., the United
States and Relator Warren Christopher Wall (together, the
“Parties”) filed a Stipulation of Dismissal as to
all claims asserted in the above- captioned Civil Action. The
Court held a status conference regarding the Parties'
dismissal on April 18, 2017. At that time, the Parties
presented the Court with a copy of their executed Settlement
action brought under the False Claims Act “may be
dismissed only if the court and the Attorney General give
written consent to the dismissal and their reasons for
consenting.” United States ex re. Michaels v. Agape
Senior Cmty., Inc., 848 F.3d 330, 336-37 (4th Cir. 2017)
(quoting 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(1)). Upon consideration of
the parties' Settlement Agreement, the Stipulation of
Dismissal, and the arguments of counsel, the Court consents
to the dismissal of this Civil Action.
Paragraph D of the parties' Settlement Agreement [Doc. 73
at 2], the United States contends that it has certain civil
claims related to the Defendants' sale of products to the
Veterans' Administration (“VA”) under certain
contracts (“the VA contracts”). Specifically, the
United States alleges that the products sold pursuant to the
VA contracts were produced by the Defendants in violation of
federal regulations and that, as a result, the Defendants
caused to be submitted false claims to the VA in violation of
the False Claims Act. [Id.].
on the allegations of the United States, the Court finds that
the Defendant had potential exposure for liability in this
case well in excess of the settlement sum. On the other hand,
the Defendant also had a potentially strong defenses -- based
on the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court in
Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States,
136 S.Ct. 1989 (2016) and Fourth Circuit precedent, see
United States ex rel. Rostholder v. Omnicare, Inc., 745
F.3d 694 (4th Cir. 2014) -- that there was no actual product
impact that resulted from the Defendant's incorrect
manufacturing procedures or that, if there was such impact,
it was not material. The Court finds that the Parties'
settlement is fair and reasonable in light of all these
parties also seek dismissal without prejudice of any other
claims of the United States within the purview of the
Relator's Complaint. Such dismissal is reasonable because
to date the United States has not identified any basis to
pursue such claims and has chosen not to intervene in the
pursuit of those claims. Further, counsel for the United
States represents to the Court that it has no current
intention to pursue such claims in the future.
Relator agrees to dismiss his claims in this action with
prejudice, and there is no other person apparent from the
record who would constitute an original source and who could
serve as a relator in this case.
the Court finds that the Parties' negotiation of this
settlement is reasonably expected to resolve all aspects of
this matter with finality, with the exception of the
Relator's claim for attorneys' fees.
of these reasons, the Court finds that the Parties'
settlement is fair and reasonable, and therefore the Court
consents to the dismissal of this action as proposed by the
IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that:
1. Consistent with the terms of the Settlement Agreement
among the United States, Baxter International, Inc., Baxter
Healthcare Corporation (Baxter), and Relator Warren
Christopher Wall (the “Settlement Agreement”),
all claims asserted in Case No. 1:13-cv-00042-MR-DLH for the
Covered Conduct as described in Paragraph D of the Settlement
Agreement are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as to the United
States and Relator.
2. Any remaining claims asserted in the Civil Action shall be
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as to the Relator and WITHOUT
PREJUDICE as to the United States.
3. The Court shall retain jurisdiction to resolve issues
relating to Relator's claim for attorneys' fees,
expenses, and costs against Baxter ...