The plaintiff, a hospital nurse Marie Mendiondo, complained to the CEO that the hospital was fraudulently billing Medicare reimbursements in a variety of ways and that her supervisors were expecting ?her ?to? engage ?in ?actions ?that ?were below the standard of care, that would jeopardize her nursing license, and that could lead to civil and criminal liability.?? The hospital terminated Mendiondo?s employment alleging poor performance. ?She sued for wrongful termination in violation of the federal False Claims Act and California law.? ?The trial court dismissed her claims on the ground that her complaint failed to satisfy the heightened pleading standard of FRCP?9 applicable to claims of fraud.?? The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, holding that Mendiondo was pursuing only a retaliation claim which only required that she prove she was punished for engaging in protected activity, not that? her? employer? committed? fraud. Accordingly, the Court ruled that retaliation claims under the False Claims Act are governed by FRCP 8 and only require notice pleading. Mendiondo v. Centinela Hospital, 521 F.3d 1097 (9th Cir. 2008) (Callahan, Trott, Clifton).
FRCP 8 Notice Pleading Standard Applies to Wrongful Termination Claims under the Federal False Claims Act.
May 1, 2007