DECEMBER 29, 2014 — In a ruling filed December 23, the U.S, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the United States alleged sufficient facts in its complaint against Bollinger Shipyards Inc., Bollinger Shipyards Lockport LLC and Halter Bollinger Joint Venture LLC, relating to the False Claims Act to allow a factfinder to infer that the defendants either knew that their statements to the federal government were false or had a reckless disregard of their truth or falsity.
The dismissal of the U.S. complaint by the District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana was reversed and the matter remanded for further proceedings.
The case relates to a project to convert a series of eight existing 110-ft Patrol Boats (WPBs) into 123-ft WPBs by extending the hulls 13 feet and making additional improvements. The first converted cutter, the Matagorda, suffered hull failure when put into service. 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.