Prosecution of claims under the Tennessee False Claims Act
A Qui Tam Plaintiff (client) brought an action on behalf of the City in the Circuit Court of Hamilton County (Chattanooga) under the Tennessee False Claims Act, alleging a pattern of persistent overbilling of the City by the electric power board which was in some respect associated with the city. The amounts at stake include approximately $20 million over approximately 20 years, and an estimated $9 million during the last 10 years. The damages are subject to mandatory doubling and possible trebling, together with penalties up to $10,000 for each false statement. The matter has been the subject of intense press coverage. The claims have been hotly disputed by the power board, which has asserted defenses of an alleged non-justiciable controversy, sovereign immunity, and defenses arguing for a narrow scope of the Tennessee False Claims Act. The matter involves complex legal and factual issues and is likely to be viewed as an important precedent in False Claims law across the country.