United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ex rel. Eric Fields, Plaintiff,
THE BI-STATE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE MISSOURI-ILLINOIS METROPOLITAN DISTRICT, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
W. SIPPEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Eric Fields moves for an altered or amended judgment of my
order granting summary judgment to Defendant Bi-State in this
False Claims Act Cas. [No. 230]. Fields does not identify a
manifest error of law or fact that would have created a
dispute of material fact. As a result, I will deny
Field's motion for an amended judgment.
is a former employee of Defendant Bi-State Development Agency
(“Bi-State”) who claims that former CEO of
Bi-State, Bob Bear, directed employees to participate in
partisan campaigns and instituted a “pay to play”
scheme in violation of the Hatch Act. Fields also claims that
Defendant Bi-State violated the Uniform Relocation Act by
purchasing interest in the Meridian Parking Garage without
appraising the property first. Based on these two underlying
violations, Fields alleges that Bi-State submitted a false
claim for payment to the federal government, in violation of
the False Claims Act.
filed three successive motions for summary judgment in this
case. I denied these motions, and Bi-State appealed both
denials. U.S. ex rel. Fields v. Bi-State Dev. Agency of
the Missouri-Illinois Metro. Dist., No. 4:14 CV 1321
RWS, 2015 WL 5158398, at *15 (E.D. Mo. Sept. 2, 2015); 2016
WL 4944097, at *3 (E.D. Mo. Sept. 16, 2016). The Eighth
Circuit dismissed the first appeal for lack of jurisdiction,
829 F.3d 598, and affirmed my second ruling. 872 F.3d 872
(8th Cir. 2017), cert. denied sub nom., 138 S.Ct.
granted Bi-State's third motion for summary judgment,
[No. 207], because Fields did not provide evidence to
demonstrate a dispute of material fact concerning the
existing and timing of Hatch Act or Uniform Relocation Act
violations. [No. 226]. In his response in opposition to
summary judgment, [No. 221], and first amended complaint,
[No. 27], Fields did not cite any evidence other than a
self-serving affidavit, and he did not provide dates for the
alleged Hatch Act violations. The first amended complaint
alleges that the Uniform Relocation Act violations occurred
between May and December 2010. [No. 27 at ¶¶
50-55]. Bi-State allegedly made false certifications to
obtain federal funds between 2006 and 2009. (No. 221 at
now moves pursuant to Rule 59(e) for an altered or amended
judgment. He argues that I ignored Eighth Circuit precedent
in Baycol Prods Litig. V. Bayer Healthcare, 732 F.3d
869 (8th Cir 2013), and that the evidence presented in his
affidavit created a dispute of material fact. This motion is
59(e) motions serve the limited function of correcting
‘manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly
discovered evidence.' ” United States v. Metro.
St. Louis Sewer Dist., 440 F.3d 930, 933 (8th Cir. 2006)
(quoting Innovative Home Health Care v. P. T.-O. T.
Assoc. of the Black Hills, 141 F.3d 1284, 1286 (8th
Cir.1998)). A litigant cannot use Rule 59(e) motions
“to introduce new evidence, tender new legal theories,
or raise arguments which could have been offered or raised
prior to entry of judgment.” Id. (quoting
Innovative Home Health Care, 141 F.3d 1284, 1286).
As I stated in my challenged order, summary judgment is
appropriate if the evidence, viewed in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, demonstrates that there is
no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Lynn v.
Deaconess Med. Ctr., 160 F.3d 484, 486 (8th Cir. 1998)
(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). The party seeking summary
judgment bears the initial responsibility of identifying the
basis of its motion and those portions of the affidavits,
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file which it believes demonstrates the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotext Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). When the moving party
makes and supports such a motion, the nonmoving party may not
rest on his pleadings. Id. at 324. Instead, the
nonmoving party must produce enough evidence to support the
essential elements on which he bears the burden of proof.
Id. at 324.
presents two primary theories in support of his motion
including (1) that I made manifest errors of law by failing
to apply “fraud-in-the-inducement” liability
explained in Baycol Prods Litig. V. Bayer
Healthcare, 732 F.3d 869, and (2) that I erred in
finding that Fields presented no evidence that Bi-State
violated the Hatch Act or Relocation Act before making false
certifications to the federal government.
general elements of a False Claims Act case are “that
(1) the defendant made a claim against the United States; (2)
the claim was false or fraudulent; and (3) the defendant knew
the claim was false or fraudulent.” U.S. ex rel.
Raynor v. Nat'l Rural Utilities Co-op. Fin., Corp.,
690 F.3d 951, 955 (8th Cir. 2012). The knowledge requirement
can be met if a defendant acts with “actual knowledge,
” “deliberate indifference, ” or
“reckless disregard” of the truth. 31 U.S.C.
§ 3729(b)(1)(A)(i)-(iii). The false or fraudulent
requirement can be met when a defendant “certifie[d]
compliance with a statute or regulation as a condition to
government payment, ” yet had knowingly failed to
comply with such statute or regulation. U.S. ex rel.
Conner v. Salina Reg'l Health Ctr., Inc., 543 F.3d
1211, 1217-18 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing Shaw v. AAA
Eng'g & Drafting, Inc., 213 F.3d 519, 531 (10th
Cir. 2000). This certification of compliance can be express
or implied. Id; Universal Health Servs., Inc. v. United
States, 136 S.Ct. 1989, 1999 (2016). Specifically,
implied false certification liability can arise if
omissions of “statutory, regulatory, or
contractual requirements . . . render the defendant's
representations misleading with respect to the goods or
services provided.” Universal Health Servs., Inc.
v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1989, 1999.
under both express and implied false certification depends on
relative timing. A False Claims Act Defendant cannot omit a
violation that has not happened, or about which they do not
know. And Fields presents no cases in which False Claims Act