JANUARY 31, 2013 — A federal judge in the Eastern District of Louisiana on Wednesday threw out the federal government's False Claims Act suit over the alleged failure of eight U.S. Coast Guard vessels' hulls that Bollinger Shipyards Inc. modified at a cost of roughly of $78 million, saying the government has yet to specify where fraud had occurred, reports Law360.com.
U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance's order dismissed the Justice Department's FCA, common law fraud, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment claims against Bollinger in a suit brought in 2011 in the wake of a failed Deepwater acquisition program plan to extend the lives of eight 110 ft Island Class cutters that included adding 13 feet to the stern to make a high-speed launching ramp for a smaller patrol craft.
When put into service, the first vessel to be converted, Matagorda (WPB 1303), suffered hull failure. Efforts to repair the Matagorda and the other converted vessels were unsuccessful. The Coast Guard deemed the cutters unseaworthy and they were taken out of service.
Law360 reports that Judge Vance gave the U.S. leave to amend the FCA claims within 20 days of the order.