U.S. joins lawsuits against Tetra Tech alleging falseclaims in connection with shipyard cleanup
Tetra Tech is a government contractor headquartered in Morris Plains, New Jersey. The Navy awarded contracts to Tetra Tech to test parcels of land at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard for radiation and to remediate any areas where the radiation was excessive.
The lawsuits allege that Tetra Tech misrepresented the source of soil samples it submitted for radiological testing. The lawsuits also allege that Tetra Tech falsified data collected from radiological surveys of existing buildings at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.
Earlier this year, two Tetra Tech supervisors, Stephen C. Rolfe and Justin E. Hubbard, pleaded guilty to falsifying records and were sentenced to eight months in prison. Rolfe and Hubbard both admitted as part of their guilty pleas that, rather than take soil samples from the survey units undergoing analysis, they participated in the substitution of “clean” (non-radioactive) dirt fraudulently taken from other areas within the former naval base.
The whistleblower actions were filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private parties to file suit on behalf of the United States for false claims and to share in any recovery. The act also permits the United States to intervene in such an action, as it has done in part in these three whistleblower actions.
The whistleblower lawsuits are captioned United States ex rel. Jahr, et al. v. Tetra Tech, EC, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 13-3835 JD (N.D. Cal.), United States ex rel. Smith v. Tetra Tech EC, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 16-1106 JD (N.D. Cal.), and United States ex rel. Wadsworth v. Tetra Tech EC, Inc., Civil Action No. 16-1107 (N.D.Cal.).
The claims asserted in the three complaints are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability. ■