We always thought that the decade-old Nargol v. DePuy False Claims Act litigation was a particularly abusive misapplication of the FCA for legal reasons. As discussed here, the primary allegations asserted the same sort of “fraud on the FDA” claim that, when brought as a common-law tort claim, were held preempted in Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs Legal Committee, 531 U.S. 341 (2001) – that the defendant purportedly misled the FDA to clear a §510(k) medical device, and that, as a result, every use of the device was ipso facto a false claim. No other causation needed. As the earlier post discussed, the First Circuit rightly put an end to that attack on FDA authority in United States ex rel. Nargol v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., 865 F.3d 29 (1st Cir. 2017).
Then it turned out that a lot more was wrong with Nargol than just a bogus legal theory. The relators were p-side “experts,” Antoni Nargol and David Langton, who had access to documents from a couple of MDLs that targeted the defendant’s hip implant products. Critically:
Protective orders regarding confidential [defendant’s] product design information were issued in both of the multidistrict litigation cases (individually, the “ASR protective order” and the “Pinnacle protective order”; collectively, the “Protective Orders”).
United States ex rel. Nargol v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., ___ F.4th ___, 2023 WL 3746534, at *1 (1st Cir. May 18, 2023).