The opinion of the court was delivered by: Linares, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court by way of a Defendant‟s motions (1) to dismiss the complaint (D.E. 18) and (2) for sanctions pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 (D.E. 27). The Court has considered the submissions of the parties in support of and in opposition to the present motion and decides the matter without oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78.
Sunil K. Garg (the "Relator") brought this action to recover damages and civil penalties on behalf of the United States of America arising from allegedly false statements and claims made jointly and severally by the defendants, in violation of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 et seq., as amended, to recover monies allegedly misappropriated by Covanta defendants from the public fisc. (Rel. Opp‟n. Br. 1).*fn1 The Covanta defendants lease and operate the Union County Resource Recovery Facility ("Facility") which was built and owned by the Union County Utilities Authority ("UCUA"). Relator alleges fraudulent conduct by the Covanta defendants in their dealings with the UCUA which resulted in financial loss to the United States and the State of New Jersey.
By way of background, the UCUA funded the construction of the Facility through tax exempt bonds issued to the public. (Compl. ¶ 27) Relator‟s complaint alleges that:
UCUA is a federal and state financial grantee continuously receiving financial benefits from the government under federal and state tax expenditures, inherent in the federal and state tax-exempt bond financing relied on by UCUA to finance the construction of the Facility, incurred by the government.
For a complaint to survive dismissal, it "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.‟ " Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ------ U.S. --------, --------, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). In determining the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008). But, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions[;] [t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. Additionally, in evaluating a plaintiff's claims, generally "a court looks only to the facts alleged in the complaint and its attachments without reference to other parts of the record." Jordan v. Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel, 20 F.3d 1250, 1261 (3d Cir. 1994). With this framework in mind, the Court turns now to Defendants‟ motions.
Under the False Claims Act, to survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must plead that:
(1) the defendant presented or caused to be presented to an agent of the United States a claim for payment; (2) the claim was false or fraudulent; and (3) the defendant knew the claim was false or fraudulent. Young-Montenay, Inc. v. United States, 15 F.3d 1040, 1043 (Fed.Cir.1994) (quoting Miller v. United States, 213 Ct. Cl. 59, 550 F.2d 17, 23 (1977)). The FCA defines claim as "any request or demand, whether under a contract or otherwise, for money or property which is made to a contractor, grantee, or other recipient if the United States Government provides any portion of the money or property which is required or demanded, or if the Government will reimburse such contractor, grantee, or other recipient of any portion of the money or property which is required or demanded." 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729(c). At its core, for there to ...