Case Study: Bunk V. Birkart

Law360, New York (February 22, 2012, 1:02 PM EST) -- In a landmark decision on Feb. 14, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia declined to impose per-claim statutory penalties of more than $50 million in a False Claims Act case with more than 9,000 “false” claims but no damages. The court held that imposing such a disproportionate penalty would violate the Eighth Amendment’s excessive fines clause, and that it lacked discretion unilaterally to reduce the penalty under the statute.

As a result, after years of pretrial procedural wrangling and following a...
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