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Taul v. Nagel Enterprises, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

November 1, 2017

BARRY TAUL, ex rel., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
NAGEL ENTERPRISES, INC., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         This is a civil action. It is currently set for trial beginning January 29, 2018. Before the Court is Defendants Nagel Enterprise's and Jed Nagel's (collectively "NEI") Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (the "Motion"). (Doc. 116 at 1). The Court permitted NEI to file the Motion in its Order dated August 3, 2017. (Doc. 114 at 2). That Order stated:

Any Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings shall be limited to whether retaliation claims under Section 3730(h) of the False Claims Act may only be brought by employees as to the terms and conditions of their employment, thereby barring recovery for any post-employment retaliation claim.

(Doc. 114 at 1-2) (emphasis added).[1]

         NEI argues that "[s]ection 3730(h) does not provide a cause of action for any retaliation action outside of the terms and conditions of the pertinent employment." (Doc. 118 at 9). Taul disagrees. (Doc. 117 at 4).

         In response, Taul makes two arguments. (Doc. 117 at 4). First, Taul argues that he was a contractor and therefore covered by the statute. (Doc. 117 at 4) ("Because §3 73 0(h) provides a cause of actions for retaliation against contractors, Relator Taul's claims are viable regardless of his 'psot [sic] termination' retaliation."). Next, Taul argues that, even if he was not a contractor, the statute still covers him. (Doc. 117 at 4) ("[B]oth the plain language of the FCA and holdings from other federal Courts support Relator Taul's right to bring a §3730(h) claim (e.g. post termination) in light of the facts in this case.").

         II. Relevant Background

         The Amended Qui Tarn Complaint (Complaint) alleges five counts of FCA violations. (See generally doc. 47). Most relevant here is Count IV, which alleges a violation under 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h). (Doc. 47 at 15-15). The Complaint states:

COUNT IV
Violation of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C.A. § 3730 (h)
57. Plaintiff realleges all prior paragraphs of the Complaint as if set forth fully herein.
58. Relator Taul was discharged, harassed and/or discriminated against in his termination by Defendant Nagel-Abanks Defendant Jed Nagel, by and through Defendants' respective officers, agents, employees and/or contractors because of lawful acts done by Relator Taul in the furtherance of an action under the False Claims Act including, but not limited to, Relator Taul's efforts to stop violations of the False Claims Act.
59. By reason of the violation of 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h), Defendants have knowingly or recklessly damaged the Plaintiff in an amount to be determined at trial.

         WHEREFORE, the Relator prays for the following relief:

(a) That the Relator be awarded all compensatory and punitive damages, including personal injury damages for mental anguish, pain and suffering and/or loss of reputation, to which he is entitled pursuant to 31 U.S.C. §3730(h) and other applicable law;
(b) That Relator be awarded two times the amount of back pay, interest on the back pay, and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the ...

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