Contact Your Legislator: Oppose False Claims \Catch 22\
Substitute Senate Bill 5310 (SSB 5310) would introduce for the first time in Washington a state false claims act (FCA). The AGC needs your help to defeat this appalling legislation. Click here to access AGC’s Legislative Action Center for an easy-to-use method to contact your legislators.
Below are some of the problems with this legislation.
Penalties: The penalties under this bill would be substantial. Submitting an inaccurate claim (even without intent to defraud) could lead to a claim for treble damages a civil penalty of between $5000 and $10000 and the award of attorneys’ fees and costs.
Effect on Negotiations: At a minimum this bill will substantially change the environment surrounding any negotiation between contractors and public owners. Even worse it will allow public owners to essentially extort contractors with threats of FCA litigation.
Mike M. Johnson “Catch-22”: The strict compliance required by the MMJ decision will also place you in a “catch-22” if this bill is enacted. Submit an inaccurate claim so as to not be in jeopardy under MMJ and you have now filed a false claim. Clearly this is untenable.
“Bounty Hunters”: This bill would also allow whistleblowers to bring action against companies in the name of the state. These “bounty hunters” would receive a portion of any recovery against you; giving them an added financial incentive to sue. One would expect disgruntled ex-employees environmentalists and possibly labor activists to be such potential plaintiffs.
We need your help! Please contact your Senator to explain why SSB 5310 is such a bad idea for Washington public works construction. Click AGC’s Legislative Action Center.