Why is Allison Engine a pivotal case? A fundamental element of a false claims case is the “call on the public fisc.” In other words, if you are going to sue someone for making false claims to obtain government money, you must be able to show a call on the public fisc as part of your case in chief.
The issue in Allison Engine is whether a false bill presented to someone other than the government constitutes a call on the public fisc. The Federal False Claims Act–like the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act–creates civil penalties, treble damages, mandatory attorney’s fees, and other categories of damages against anyone who submits a false claim for payment or who causes a false claim for payment to be submitted.
While a detailed discussion of this particular area of qui tam litigation is beyond the scope of today’s post, look for more important news on this in the future.