The National Academies

NCHRP 20-06/Topic 23-04 [Active]

The Effectiveness of State False Claims Acts in Protecting State Transportation Funding
[ NCHRP 20-06 (Legal Problems Arising out of Highway Programs) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $50,000
Staff Responsibility: Gwen Chisholm-Smith
Research Agency: Conner Gwyn Schenck PLLC
Principal Investigator: Timothy R. Wyatt
Effective Date: 3/8/2018
Completion Date: 1/9/2019


The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) plans to award a contract for a study and report. NCHRP anticipates an estimated 300-hour level of effort and compensation in the amount not to exceed $50,000. Legal research reports sponsored by this project are published in NCHRP's Legal Research Digest (LRD) series or in electronic format. Publications are made available to some libraries and to approximately 4,000 transportation lawyers and officials through the Transportation Research Board (TRB) distribution network.

New federal and state whistleblower and False Claims Act legislation mean opportunities for state departments of transportation to both protect the public fisc and recover treble damages, which can be invested into aging infrastructure. Many states have False Claims Acts, some modeled upon different version of the federal False Claims Act (FCA).  A survey and analysis of state whistleblower and False Claims Acts may raise awareness and spur both the enforcement of and the refinement and/or development of such laws.
The objective of this research is to perform an in-depth analysis of how judicial decisions construe state case law applying state false claims acts to highway contracting, including both construction contracting and consulting contracting. Further, the analysis should address how states can make their false claims acts more effective in protecting the public fisc and provide a template for other states interested in passing such legislation. The results of this research will be a Legal Research Digest.
Research Implementation

This research will be conducted in four tasks pursuant to a firm fixed price agreement. The tasks will be as follows:
Task 1.  Research Plan and Detailed Report Outline. The consultant will conduct background research and collect relevant material. Based on the initial but complete review of the source material, the consultant will submit a work plan. The work plan should be about 10 to 15 pages, or appropriate length for the material collected. It should contain sufficient detail to inform the NCHRP project panel of what a 75- to 100-page (or other appropriate length) report will contain. This outline should also contain the estimated pagination for each section of the report. This material will be submitted to NCHRP for consideration and approval.
Estimated Length of Time: 60-90 days
Estimated Work Effort:        75 hours
Task 2.  After NCHRP approval of the work plan, the consultant should conduct additional research, and case and statutory/regulatory analysis.

Estimated Length of Time: 30-45 days
Estimated Work Effort:        75 hours
Task 3. Draft report in accordance with the approved work plan (including modifications required by NCHRP).
Estimated Length of Time: 60-90 days
Estimated Work Effort:        150 hours
Task 4. Revise report as necessary. The consultant should estimate that 2 revisions will be necessary. One revision may be required after review by NCHRP staff and members of a select subcommittee. Additional revisions may be required after the full project panel has reviewed the report.
Estimated Length of Time: 30 days
Estimated Work Effort:      50 hours

STATUS: Research in progress

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