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United States ex rel. Heath v. AT&T, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

June 10, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ex rel. TODD HEATH, et al., Plaintiffs/Relator,
v.
AT& T, Inc., et al., Defendants

Decided Date: June 6, 2014.

For TODD HEATH, United States of America ex. rel, Plaintiff: Scott Rhead Shepherd, LEAD ATTORNEY, SHEPHERD, FINKELMAN, MILLER & SHAH, LLP, Media, PA.

For DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Corporation Counsel; Office of the Attorney General, Plaintiff: Jane Drummey, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL, Washington, DC.

For AT& T, INC., AT& T CORP., WISCONSIN BELL, INC., doing business as AT& T WISCONSIN, SOUTHWESTERN BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY, SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND TELEPHONE COMPANY, doing business as AT& T CONNECTICUT, SBC INTERNET SERVICES, INC., doing business as AT& T INTERNET SERVICES, SBC LONG DISTANCE, LLC, doing business as AT& T LONG DISTANCE, PACIFIC BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY, doing business as AT& T CALIFORNIA, OHIO BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY, doing business as AT& T OHIO, NEVADA BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY, doing business as AT& T NEVADA, MICHIGAN BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY, doing business as AT& T MICHIGAN, INDIANA BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY, doing business as AT& T INDIANA, ILLINOIS BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY, doing business as AT& T ILLINOIS, BELLSOUTH TELECOMMUNICATIONS, INC., BELLSOUTH LONG DISTANCE, INC., doing business as AT& T LONG DISTANCE, BELLSOUTH COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS, LLC, doing business as AT& T COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS SOUTHEAST, ALASCOM, INC., doing business as AT& T ALASCOM, AT& T MOBILITY, AT& T DATACOMM, INC., doing business as AT& T DATACOMM, AT& T CORP., doing business as AT& T ADVANCED SOLUTIONS, Defendants: David Francis Dowd, LEAD ATTORNEY, MAYER BROWN LLP, Washington, DC.

For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Interested Party: Beverly Maria Russell, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Civil Division, Washington, DC.

For COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, Interested Party: Alexander Klibaner, LEAD ATTORNEY, ASSISTANT ATTORNEYS GENERAL, Boston, MA.

Page 43

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RICHARD J. LEON, United States District Judge.

[Dkt. #33]

Plaintiff-relator Todd Heath brings suit under the qui tam provisions of the False

Page 44

Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729-3732, on behalf of the United States government, seventeen states, the District of Columbia, and two cities against AT& T, Inc. and nineteen wholly-owned subsidiaries (together, the " AT& T defendants" ).[1] Compl. [Dkt. #1]. Heath alleges AT& T, Inc. and its regional operating companies fraudulently overbilled school districts and libraries from 1997 through 2009 for telecommunications services provided as part of the federal E-Rate program. Id.

Defendants move to dismiss the complaint on a number of grounds. Among them is that this court lacks jurisdiction to hear the United States False Claims Act claim because Heath previously had filed a complaint in the Eastern District of Wisconsin alleging the same fraud by AT& T's Wisconsin operating company, thereby barring this action under the Act's " first-to-file" rule.[2] Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss Relator's Compl. 1 [Dkt. #33]. In addition, the AT& T defendants argue that this Court should decline to exercise ...


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