Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

U.S. EX REL. RUETER v. SPARKS

September 17, 1996

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, EX REL., WILLIAM RUETER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RICHARD SPARKS AND DALE WIEWEL, D/B/A SPARKS & WIEWEL, A PARTNERSHIP, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge:

OPINION

False Claims Act.

Bench trial.

Judgment for defendants.

I. FACTS

Sparks & Wiewel Construction Company ("S & W") is a partnership in the business of constructing and repairing heavy highways and bridges. William Rueter, a former employee of S & W, brought this action against Richard Sparks and David Wiewel, d/b/a Sparks & Wiewel, under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq.*fn1 Rueter claimed Defendants knowingly submitted false hours, wage rates, and federal tax and FICA withholdings for the purpose of acquiring federal funds under false pretenses.

From September 1989 through May 1990, Defendants were contractors with respect to Project No. ACBHF — 83(6), in Pike County, Illinois, for highway and bridge work. The project was federally funded. Therefore, the wages paid were subject to the minimum prevailing standards pursuant to the Davis-Bacon Act, 40 U.S.C. § 276a et seq. Section 2 of the Copeland Act, 40 U.S.C. § 276c, requires contractors of federally funded projects to submit weekly certified payroll records of wages paid to their employees to assure that minimum wages prevailing in the area are being paid. The contract for the Pike County Project contained a document titled the "General Wage Decision" which stated the wages to be paid to various classes of workers on this project.

Plaintiff worked for S & W on the Pike County project as an operating engineer and ran the heavy equipment on the dozers, scrapers and motor graders. The prevailing wage for this job classification was $18.00 an hour. For approximately one-half hour of every day, Plaintiff would perform maintenance work on the machines. Maintenance work consisted of checking levels of water and oil in the machines and greasing the machines. Because the "General Wage Decision" did not provide a classification nor a prevailing wage rate for maintenance work, Richard Sparks ("Sparks"), the partner in charge of determining wage rates for employees, believed that S & W was not required, under the Davis-Bacon Act, to pay prevailing wages for time spent on maintenance. Therefore, as was S & W's practice and policy, Plaintiff was paid $8.00 an hour for the time spent performing maintenance work.

A description of how payroll records were completed is necessary. Sparks completed all payroll and wage records manually. The certified payroll record required the following information: employee name and address, days and hours worked, total hours worked, overtime hours worked, rate of pay, amount earned, federal and state withholding, net pay. The information used to complete the certified payroll record came from the foreman's worksheet, titled the "Daily Cost Report," which was completed on a daily basis by the foreman. This worksheet provided information about the number of hours an employee spent in any given job classification. Information to complete the employees' actual paychecks was gathered from the employees' time cards. The time cards were not used to complete the certified payroll record because it would be very time consuming due to the number of employees and the different job classifications the employees performed.

II. ANALYSIS

The False Claims Act (FCA) imposes liability on any person who "knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, to an officer or employee of the United States Government . . . a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval." "Knowing" and "knowingly", for purposes of this section, mean that a person

(1) has actual knowledge of the information;

  (2) acts in deliberate ignorance of the truth or
  falsity of ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.