United States District Court, District of Columbia
C. LAMBERTH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is defendant Liquidity Services, Inc.'s (LSI)
Motion to Dismiss. After having considered the motion, the
opposition and reply thereto, and the record herein, the
Court will GRANT LSI's Motion to
Daniel Brady worked as Vice President of Finance for LSI from
2013 until his termination in 2016. Compl. ¶¶ 1,
85. LSI had entered into a revenue sharing agreement with the
Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), a federal government agency,
to sell excess scrap metal from military bases. Id.
¶¶ 2, 3, 17, 20-21, 72.
2016, Brady completed an assignment to "develop an
activity-based and/or resource-based approach to allocate IT
expenses to each business unit for the FY 17 Budget,"
and Brady found that this new approach resulted in
"significantly" lower IT costs for FY16 and FY17,
as it related to LSI's "profit-sharing Scrap
business." Id. ¶¶ 65-66:
direct supervisor, LSI's Chief Financial Officer Jorge
Celaya, called to discuss LSI's "scrap metal
contract," or revenue sharing agreement, with the DLA.
Id. ¶ 31. In response to Celaya's
questions, Brady said that "if LSI had less IT costs . .
. LSI would need to share with the government" as
"a matter of proper accounting and federal
mandates." Id. ¶¶ 75, 77. Celaya
replied, "I'm not sure if I see it that way."
Id. ¶ 78. Brady replied that "doing it any
other way would be illegal." Id. ¶ 6.
immediately reported his conversation with Celaya to
LSI's Chief Accounting Officer and "expressed his
concerns about the measures Celaya would use."
Id. ¶¶ 7-9, 79-80. The Chief Accounting
Officer told Brady not to worry about it. Id. ¶
later, Celaya fired Brady. Id. ¶¶ 8, 81,
83. However, Brady had unused paid time off and remained an
LSI employee until November 1, 2016. Id.
Count I of the Complaint, Brady alleges retaliation under
§ 3730(h) of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C.
§§ 3729 et seq. Brady argues that he
engaged in protected activity twice: (1) when 1 he told
Celaya "about proper accounting protocols that must be
followed on LSI's scrap metal contract with the Defense
Logistics Agency and that any other approach would be
illegal," and (2) when he "reported concerns about
an impending violation to the Chief Accounting Officer."
Id. ¶¶ 94-95. Brady claims that he
"disclosed potential accounting fraud" and was
terminated "only days later." Id. at 8.
Count II, Brady alleges that LSI violated § 32-1301 of
the D.C. Wage Payment and Collection Law (DCWPCL), D.C. Code
§ 32-1301 et seq., by failing to pay his
"earned 2016 bonus." Id. ¶¶
105-06. "Per [his] offer letter," Brady claims that
the bonus amount is approximately $62, 000, based on
"qualitative and quantitative measures established by
LSI as part of the Capital Assets Group." Id.
¶¶ 89. Brady alleges that, according to his offer
letter, LSI will pay him a forty percent target bonus
annually. Id. ¶ 86. Although "the offer
letter does not state when the payment will be made or that
Brady must be employed on a certain date to receive the
bonus," Brady claims that the bonus "generally
occurs within 60 days" of the fiscal year's end on
September 30. Id. ¶¶ 87-88.
survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), "a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A
plaintiff must furnish "more than labels and
conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action." Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555. Instead, the complaint's "[f]actual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level, on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in
fact)." Id. (internal citations omitted). While
FCA actions for fraud are evaluated under the heightened
pleading standard of Rule 9(b), retaliation claims are
evaluated under the standard Rule 8 pleading standard.
United States ex rel. Williams v. Martin-Baker Aircraft
Co., Ltd., 389 F.3d 1251, 1259- 60 (D.C. Cir. 2004).