Last week, Timothy J. McInnis of McInnis Law led settlement negotiations between his client, a truck driver, and his former employer in a federal whistleblower litigation.
On March 12, United States District Judge Susan D. Wigenton, District of New Jersey, dismissed with prejudice a whistleblower lawsuit against Beam Brothers Trucking, Inc. (Mt. Crawford, Virginia) after the U.S. Government, Beam Bros. and the whistleblower reached a settlement agreement resolving the whistleblower’s allegations of fraud. Under the terms of the settlement agreement Beam Bros. agreed to pay the government $1,025,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by overcharging the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on interstate mail truck delivery contracts.
The case was brought by former employee/truck driver Bobby Blizzard. His complaint alleged, among other things, that Beam Bros. used Postal Service fuel cards for non-USPS deliveries, when the cards were supposed to be used only for those deliveries. Additionally the claim included that Beam Bros. made its drivers violate Department of Transportation maximum driving time regulations on its USPS routes. Blizzard also alleged he was fired in retaliation for complaining to Beam Bros. about such conduct.
Under the “qui tam” provisions of the False Claims Act, Blizzard’s case was initially filed in court under seal and presented to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, which investigated his allegation and later joined in the matter.
According to the False Claims Act, Blizzard is entitled to receive between 15 and 25% of the settlement amount from the Government, plus attorneys’ fees from Beam Bros. Those amounts, as well as resolution of Blizzard’s retaliation claim against Beam Bros. remain undecided.
The Monts Firm of Austin, Texas acted as co-counsel for the plaintiff.
The case is captioned United States ex rel. Doe v. Beam Bros. Trucking, Inc., Civil Action No. 10-657 (D.N.J.). The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.