The US Department of Justice announced on March 25, 2019 that Duke University in North Carolina has settled charges that it violated the federal False Claims Act for $112.5 million. The allegations included claims that the university falsified information on grant applications and progress reports for grants from the Environmental Protection Agency (EP) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The assistant attorney general stated that the both the EPA and the NIH have limited resources which are used for critical research. Submitting dishonest reports in order to get and keep grant money prevents those who are qualified from doing quality research from having the necessary funds.

Duke University receives millions in grant funding from the EPA and NIH each year. The False Claims Act complaint alleged that between 2006 and 2018, Duke knowingly submitted false data and fabricated data on 30 grants. The specific contention by the Justice Department was that “certain research related to mice conducted by a Duke research technician in its Airway Physiology Laboratory, as well as statements based on those research results, were falsified and/or fabricated.”

The DOJ was alerted to the allegations by a lawsuit brought by a former Duke employee “under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private individuals to sue on behalf of the government and share in any recovery.”

The DOJ intervened in the case on behalf of the whistleblower. The whistleblower will receive nearly 30% of the settlement amount – $33,750,000.

Many different agencies were involved in helping to obtain the settlement. The settlement is not an admission of liability by Duke University.

At the California Law Offices of Stephen Danz and Associates, we guide whistleblowers, called qui tam relators, through the disclosure and litigation process. For help with any whistleblower claim, call us at 877-789-9707 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment.