U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Case Status


Docket Number

12-1369 (L), 12-1417, & 12-1494


Case Updates

Fourth Circuit affirms $24 million judgement in a False Claims Act case

January 08, 2014

The Fourth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that Bunk possessed standing to sue for civil penalties under the False Claims Act even though he was not seeking damages award; that the district court wrongly denied Bunk recovery of the requested civil monetary penalty of $24 million, an amount that the court held was consistent with the Constitution.

U.S. Chamber addresses civil penalties under the False Claims Act

October 16, 2012

The U.S. Chamber urged the Fourth Circuit to hold that private parties lack standing to seek civil penalties under the False Claims Act (FCA) to vindicate the government’s sovereign interests. In this case, the relator Bunk brought several claims against the company for submitting a false “Certificate of Independent Price Determination” in connection with a bid for shipping of household goods of U.S. military personnel stationed in Europe. The district court found that the government suffered no economic injury from the company’s technical violation of the FCA and declined to impose any penalty because the minimum statutory penalty of $50-100 million would violate the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment.

In its amicus brief, NCLC argues that relator Bunk lacks Article III standing to seek civil penalties to vindicate the Government’s sovereign interests. NCLC also argues that to the extent that the FCA deputizes private citizens, such as relator Bunk, with responsibility for conducting civil litigation for the purpose of vindicating public rights, the FCA violates the Appointments Clause of Article II of the Constitution. NCLC urged the court to uphold the District Court's determination that it lacked statutory authority to impose a lesser penalty in order to avoid an unconstitutionally excessive fine.

Case Documents