Breach of Contract May Lead to False Claims Liability on Public Works Contracts

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The California First District Court of Appeal has issued an opinion which may place a heavy burden on public works contractors under the California False Claims Act, Cal. Gov't Code § 12650 et seq. In San Francisco Unified School Dist. v. Laidlaw Transit, Inc., the Court of Appeal applied the federal "implied certification" doctrine to hold that when a contractor on a public works project submits a request for payment to the public entity at a time when the contractor knows it is in breach of the express terms of the contract, the contractor may be held to have submitted a false claim, and may be subject to liability under the state False Claims Act. San Francisco Unified School District ex rel. Manuel Contreras, et al. v. Laidlaw Transit, Inc., 182 Cal. App. 4th 438 (2010)

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