United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Northern Division
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ex rel., SAMUEL C. CLEMMONS, Plaintiff,
VAUGHAN REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, LLC; LIFEPOINT HOSPITALS, INC.; INTEGRITY EMERGENCY CARE, INC.; PHILLIP A. HICKS, M.D.; And SAI NAMBURU, M.D. Defendants.
F. MOORER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court are the United States' (1)
Stipulation of Dismissal (Doc. 46, filed 9/11/19),
in which the United States and the Relator stipulate to
dismissal with prejudice of all claims brought in this
qui tam case against Defendants Integrity Emergency
Care, Inc., and Phillip A. Hicks, M.D., pursuant to the terms
of a settlement agreement executed on August 30, 2019, and
(2) a Stipulation of Dismissal (Doc. 48, filed
9/24/19), in which the United States and the Relator
stipulate to dismissal with prejudice of all claims brought
in this case against Defendant Sai S. Namburu, M.D., pursuant
to the terms of a separate settlement agreement executed on
August 30, 2019.
Plaintiffs have filed their stipulations under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A), which states, in relevant
part, that the “plaintiff may dismiss an action without
a court order by filing: (i) a notice of dismissal before the
opposing party serves either an answer or a motion for
summary judgment; or (ii) a stipulation of dismissal signed
by all parties who have appeared.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
41(a)(1)(A). Here, the three defendants at issue have not
filed an answer or motion for summary judgment, or even
appeared on the docket. Moreover, the United States and the
Relator state that they have reached an agreement that fully
settles the claims and issues between the parties, including
any potential claims by Relator for a share of the settlement
proceeds and payment of reasonable attorneys' fees and
41(a)(2) provides that “an action may be dismissed at
plaintiff's request … by court order, on terms
that the court considers proper.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
41(a)(2). The parties state that dismissal by stipulation is
appropriate in this particular case because it does not fall
under either specified situation in the False Claims Act
which expressly require Court approval. See 31
U.S.C. §§ 3730(b)(1), (c)(2)(B). The Court agrees
that the statute does not appear to require its approval
where, as here, the United States has intervened and both the
United States and the Relator support the settlement
agreement reached with the defendants.
the Eleventh Circuit has construed Rule 41(a)(2) to permit
the Court to dismiss claims against a particular defendant,
it is less clear whether such dismissal is permitted under
Rule 41(a)(1)(A) where, as here, the stipulation of dismissal
does not involve all parties. See Klay v.
United Healthgroup, Inc., 376 F.3d 1092, 1106 (11th Cir.
2004) (stating that, although dismissal of certain claims
against a defendant is not permitted under Rule 41, the rule
generally “allows a plaintiff to dismiss all of his
claims against a particular defendant . . . .”);
see also Plain Growers, Inc. ex rel. Florists' Mut.
Ins. Co. v. Ickes-Braun Glasshouses, Inc., 474 F.2d 250,
254 (5th Cir. 1973) (“There is little merit in the
argument that the court could not dismiss the action as to
less than all defendants upon motion [under (a)(2)] . . .
whether viewed under Rule 41(a)(1)(A) or Rule 41(a)(2), this
action is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as to
Integrity Emergency Care, Inc., Phillip A. Hicks, M.D., and
Sai M. Namburu, M.D. Consistent with the settlement
agreements, this Court retains jurisdiction over any disputes
that may arise regarding the parties' compliance with the
 The Court notes that the United States
has filed stipulations of dismissal as to all five (5)
defendants. See Docs. 46, 48, 50. However, the
stipulations were filed piecemeal, and the parties concede in
their stipulation as to Defendants Vaughan Regional Medical
Center, LLC., and LifePoint Health, Inc. (formerly LifePoint
Hospitals, Inc.) (Doc. 50), that settlement negotiations are
ongoing between the parties regarding payment of
Relator's attorneys' fees, expenses, and costs.
Accordingly, litigation as to those parties is not yet
concluded and that stipulation is not being considered
661 F.2d 1206, 1209 (11th Cir. 1981) (en banc) (adopting as
binding precedent all of the decisions of the former Fifth
Circuit handed down prior to the close of ...