24. Gardner, Carton billed for 168.90 hours ($24,783.35) on
research on relators' right to recover attorney's fees and
preparing the application for same.
25. Gardner, Carton billed 18.85 hours ($5,753.00) relating to
potential criminal liability on the part of Linda Hicks.
26. Of that time, only about 0.25 hours was spent actually
discussing potential criminal liability with government
investigators, who discounted the possibility.
27. Since resigning as the manager of Xact's Fraud and Abuse
Department, Linda Hicks has been engaged in a consulting
business, assisting Medicare providers under investigation by
Xact for possible submission of fraudulent claims.
28. On March 17, 1997, Linda Hicks met with representatives of
the Federal Public Defender's Office in Delaware (FPD) to discuss
the possibility of consulting as an expert witness on a Medicare
case involving allegations of wrongful billing for ambulance
services by a billing company represented by the FPD.
29. At that meeting, Linda Hicks specifically identified, and
recommended use of, certain documents in the possession of Xact.
30. When the FPD sought to call her as a witness at trial,
Linda Hicks determined that she had conflicts of interest that
barred her testifying in the case as an expert or otherwise for
31. West was concerned that a government lawyer might impeach
Linda Hicks with the fact that she had filed a qui tam action,
thereby revealing the sealed case.
32. West's and GC & D's legal bills identify 17.45 hours
($3,639.00) devoted to corresponding with the FPD and drafting
the motion to quash.
33. Gardner, Carton billed 95.40 ($16,540.50) hours for time
spent dealing with the other relators.
34. Those hours represent time spent conferring with the other
relators for the purpose of presenting a "united front" to the
government and defendant, as well as the time doing so.
35. Gardner, Carton billed 2.20 ($209.00) hours relating to
determining relators' share of the settlement, representing work
done mostly by paralegals.
36. Gardner Carton billed 121.35 hours ($28,145.00) relating to
review of a sample audit performed by the government for the
purpose of determining the value of relators' claims.
37. Some of the hours attributed to the sample audit were spent
researching Privacy Act problems and resolving the problems with
38. Relators' counsel billed 12 hours representing a meeting in
Baltimore between Ndirika and West for the purpose of exchanging
a document to be filed in Harrisburg and to become reacquainted.
IV. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act,
31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq., permit, in certain circumstances, suits by
private parties on behalf of the United States.
11. The False Claims Act also provides that relators may
recover "an amount for reasonable expenses, which the court finds
to have been reasonably incurred, plus reasonable attorneys' fees
and costs." 31 U.S.C. § 3730(d)(1).
12. Calculating the amount of counsel fees to be imposed begins
with the lodestar, an amount calculated by multiplying the number
of hours reasonably expended by a reasonable hourly rate.
13. Adjustments to the lodestar then may be made as necessary
in the particular case.
14. Time spent on matters unrelated to successful claims are
excluded from the lodestar.
15. The fees incurred by Ndirika with respect to the lunch with
an employee of HCFA were reasonable.
16. The fees incurred by relators' counsel with respect to the
placement of Brentley Hicks on administrative leave were
17. The fees incurred by relators' counsel with respect to a
conflict of interest on the part of Attorney Main were not
(a) the number of hours spent on this issue, 62.65,
represents more than one and one-half weeks (assuming
a 40-hour week) of work on the question;
(b) the issue is not complicated; and
(c) Gardner, Carton simply had to provide notice to
Attorney Main that there was a court order barring
disclosure of any information concerning these qui
tam cases and that such disclosure would constitute a
violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
18. A reasonable amount of time to be spent on providing notice
as described in ¶ 17(c), above, would be one hour.