Lestage v. Coloplast Corp., No. 19-2037 (1st Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
In this case brought under the anti-retaliation provision of the False Claims Act, the First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court awarding Plaintiff $762,525 in compensatory damages, holding that the causation standard for retaliation claims under the Act is a "but-for" standard.
Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant, her employer, alleging that Defendant had retaliated against her in violation of the Act after it learned that she had filed a qui tam action against it and one of its largest customers. The jury awarded Plaintiff compensatory damages, and the district court denied Plaintiff's subsequent motions for judgment as a matter of law and a new trial. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) retaliation claims under the Act must be evaluated under the "but-for" causation standard; (2) the "substantial motivating factor" instruction given to the jury was erroneous, but the instruction was not plain error; (3) the jury supportably found sufficient evidence against Defendant on the retaliation claim; and (4) the district court properly denied Defendant's motion for a new trial.