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United States of America, Ex Rel. Steven Mateski v. Raytheon Co

February 26, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Otis D. Wright, II United States District Judge

O JS-6



The False Claims Act allows any citizen with proprietary information of fraud against the United States Government to bring a civil action on behalf of the United States. 31 U.S.C. § 3730. But there are jurisdictional limitations in place to prevent lawsuits from opportunistic plaintiffs, and a court must dismiss any claim that lies outside of these limitations. One such limitation is the public-disclosure bar, which eliminates jurisdiction in cases where the Government has declined to intervene and the qui tam complaint is based upon publicly disclosed allegations or transactions. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4)(A). The Court finds that this case is subject to the public-disclosure bar, and for that reason, the Court GRANTS Raytheon's Motion to Dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.*fn1 (ECF No. 96.)


Defendant Raytheon Co. was subcontracted to develop a weather sensor called the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite ("VIIRS") for the United States Government. (Fourth Am. Compl. ("FAC") ¶ 17.) This sensor was part of the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System ("NPOESS"), a satellite system that collects meteorological, oceanographic, environmental, and climactic data. (FAC ¶¶ 10, 11.) An Integrated Program Office ("IPO") consisting of the Department of Defense, NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, managed NPOESS as a joint program. (FAC ¶ 12.) Until 2010, oversight of the NPOESS program was assigned to an executive committee composed of top officials from each of the three IPO agencies. (FAC ¶ 13.) The NPOESS program was cancelled in 2010 because of delays, technical underperformance, and cost overruns. (FAC ¶ 15.)

Relator Steven Mateski began working for Raytheon in 1997. (FAC ¶ 3.) He was assigned to work on VIIRS for a short period of time while employed at Raytheon. (Id.) During that period, Mateski was asked to perform work under circumstances that he considered non-protocol: working without engineering drawings or planning books; and using prohibited materials. (See e.g., FAC 23.)

Mateski filed his initial qui tam complaint on June 9, 2006. After about six years, the United States notified the Court that it declines to intervene. (ECF No. 78.) On September 5, 2012, Mateski filed his Fourth Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 88.) He alleges that from 2002 to at least 2012, Raytheon knowingly and recklessly submitted 48 false claims to the United States and received payments for those claims in the sum of approximately one billion dollars. (FAC ¶ 71.) In response, Raytheon filed two Motions to Dismiss: the first under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1); the second under Rules 8, 9, 10, and 12. (ECF Nos. 96, 98.) The Court first turns to the Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.


A.Legal Standard

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject-matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and Congress. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Plaintiffs bear the burden of establishing that subject-matter jurisdiction exists. Id. If a court finds that it lacks jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3).

A Rule 12(b)(1) motion for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction may be brought as either a facial or factual attack. Wolfe v. Strankman, 392 F.3d 358, 362 (9th Cir. 2004).In a facial attack, the challenger asserts that the allegations contained in a complaint are insufficient on their face to invoke federal jurisdiction. Id. But, in a factual attack, the challenger disputes the truth of the allegations that, by themselves, would otherwise invoke federal jurisdiction. Id.

Further, in a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the well-pleaded facts alleged in the complaint are taken as true. Orsay v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 289 F.3d 1125, 1127 (9th Cir. 2002). But the court is not restricted to the face of the pleadings-the court "may review any evidence, such as affidavits and testimony, to resolve factual disputes concerning the ...

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