The Boeing Company has agreed to pay $18 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit claiming the company violated the terms of a defense contract by improperly charging the government for aircraft maintenance. Whistleblower James Thomas Webb, Jr. will receive a reward of $3,060,000 for bringing the alleged fraud to the government’s attention. Mr. Webb was represented by Mark H. Schlein and Diane Marger Moore of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman.
Between 2006 through 2013, Boeing performed maintenance at the Long Beach Depot on the C-17 Globemaster aircraft pursuant to the Globemaster Sustainment Partnership contract, and the Globemaster Integrated Sustainment Partnership contract. During this time, Boeing allegedly submitted claims for 8-hour work shifts performed by its employees at its Long Beach Depot, knowing that the claims were false in that the 8 hours included time spent at lunch and extended breaks not reimbursable under the contracts.
Mr. Webb filed a qui tam lawsuit against Boeing in January of 2013 (United States of America ex rel. James Thomas Webb, Jr. v. The Boeing Company, CV13-00694). The Justice Department intervened in the whistleblower lawsuit, which came to an end with today’s settlement announcement.
“Jim Webb is the real hero in this story,” stated whistleblower attorney Mark Schlein. “He had the courage to step forward and report the billing scheme, knowing that it would have a serious impact on his life and family. I am proud to have him as a client and a friend.”
The Boeing C-17 Globemaster, a large aircraft designed for military transport, was developed for the U.S. Air Force. It carries the name of two piston-engine military cargo aircraft predecessors: the Douglas C-74 Globemaster and the Douglas C-124 Globemaster II. The C-17 is commonly used for transporting troops and cargo throughout the world, as well as strategic airlift missions. Other uses include tactical airlift, medical evacuation and airdrop duties. In addition to the U.S., the C-17 is in service with Australia, the U.K., Canada, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, the NATO Heavy Airlift Wing, Kuwait and India.
This is not the first time that Boeing has been the subject of False Claims Act allegations with regard to labor costs. In another case settled last October, Boeing agreed to pay $23 million to resolve allegations that it improperly billed the U.S. military for labor costs in connection with the maintenance and repair of C-17 Globemaster aircraft.
Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman is a national law firm representing whistleblowers across the globe as well as plaintiffs in class actions and complex litigation resulting from aviation and other major transportation disasters, and defective pharmaceuticals. With a career spanning over 40 years in law enforcement and as a practicing attorney, Mark Schlein heads the firm’s whistleblower practice group. The firm has recovered over $1.5 billion for clients in all of its areas of practice. Baum Hedlund is listed in Martindale-Hubbell’s Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America® for 2014-15, Top Ranked Law Firms™ for 2014-15.
Boeing pays $18 million to settle overbilling claims for work on the C-17 – Long Beach Press Telegram