Scott Roybal is a partner in the firm’s Government Contracts, Investigations, and International Trade Practice Group. He served as the group leader for more than 13 years.
Areas of Practice
Mr. Roybal practices business litigation in federal and state courts and before arbitration and administrative tribunals. He has extensive experience handling government contract disputes and defending clients in a wide range of civil and criminal fraud investigations. He has more than 30 years of experience investigating and litigating qui tam False Claims Act cases and related whistleblower actions. Mr. Roybal has handled a multitude of corporate internal and government investigations involving diverse industries such as healthcare, aerospace and defense, financial institutions, electronics, information technologies, transportation, construction, and telecommunications, among others that conduct business with the government. He provides compliance program advice and counsel and conducts investigations concerning the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Mr. Roybal utilizes his extensive experience to assist clients with early resolutions of potential disputes.
Representative Litigation and Counseling Experience
- Federal and State False Claims Act Litigation and Trials
- Qui Tam and Other Whistleblower Disputes
- Domestic and International Arbitrations
- Claims and Appeals
- Debarment, Suspension and Program Exclusion
- Bid Protests
- Government Subpoenas - Criminal, OIG, Civil
- Government Audits and Compliance Reviews
- Compliance Programs and Self-Governance
- Internal Investigations
- FAR Mandatory Disclosure Program
- Voluntary or Self-Disclosure Programs
- FCPA Investigations
- National Security and Restricted Programs
- Contract Claims and Termination
- Federal and State Procurement
- Small & Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Programs
- Foreign Sales and Purchases
- Export Compliance
- Rights in Patents, Data and Software
- Teaming Agreements and Subcontracts
- Defective Pricing
- Government Contracts Cost Accounting
QUI TAM FALSE CLAIMS ACT EXPERIENCE
Mr. Roybal graduated Columbia Law School in 1986 and began litigation practice with Sheppard Mullin later that fall. In October 1986, Congress amended the civil False Claims Act ("FCA") making it easier and financially more rewarding for qui tam whistleblowers (also known as "relators") to file FCA actions.
Beginning in late 1986, several of the firm's defense contractor clients became the subject of parallel criminal, civil and congressional investigations which ultimately evolved into protracted federal FCA litigation. Mr. Roybal worked on these early FCA litigations as the federal law was being shaped and defined throughout the nation. For more than 30 years, Mr. Roybal has specialized in government contracts litigation, conducted numerous internal corporate investigations, responded to numerous government criminal, civil and administrative subpoenas and litigated many qui tam FCA actions nationwide. The FCA investigations and litigations on which Mr. Roybal has worked have involved diverse industries such as healthcare, aerospace and defense, financial institutions, electronics, telecommunications, and information technologies, among others.
Representative False Claims Act Litigation and Investigation Experience
- Specialty Pharmacy (Central District of California): Beginning in 2021, Mr. Roybal represents a specialty pharmacy in a qui tam FCA action in which the whistleblower alleges false claims were submitted to the government as a result of improper prior authorizations prescribing medications to help treat rare and complex medical conditions. The Court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss with prejudice. The whistleblower filed an appeal.
- California Managed Services Organization: Beginning in 2021, Mr. Roybal represents a managed services organization involving an internal investigation involving potential compliance issues related to member enrollment, eligibility, and claims payment processing matters.
- Bio-Pharma Services Investigation: In 2021, Mr. Roybal represented a bio-pharma company that provides of number of diverse services and products including manufacturing of plasmid drug substances and fill/finish of DNA vaccine drug products. He investigated government contracting issues involving formulation and manufacture of plasmid drug substances for the U.S. Army. He advised the client how to successfully resolve a dispute with the Army Contracting Officer.
- California Family Practice and Urgent Care Clinics: In 2019 and 2020, Mr. Roybal conducted an internal investigation regarding alleged improper female wellness exam practices involving Medical Directors, a Nurse Practitioner, and Medical Assistant personnel. Mr. Roybal prepared self-disclosure notices and subsequent investigation and corrective action reports that were provided to the health plan payor, local health care initiative, the California Department of Managed Health Care and Department of Health Care Services. Mr. Roybal advised the client regarding a parallel investigation conducted by the California Department of Consumer Affairs. There have been no adverse consequences to the client.
- California Management Services Organization: In 2018 and 2019, Mr. Roybal conducted an internal investigation regarding alleged improper practices involving Claims and Utilization Management personnel. Mr. Roybal prepared self-disclosure notices and subsequent investigation and corrective action reports that were provided to the California Department of Managed Health Care and Department of Health Care Services and various Health Plans. Mr. Roybal advised the client regarding administrative remedies.
- Laboratory Testing (District of Idaho): In 2017 and 2018, Mr. Roybal represented a laboratory in responding to HHS OIG subpoenas regarding alleged improper testing. The government completed its investigation without any consequences for the laboratory.
- Laboratory Testing (Eastern District of Missouri): In 2017, Mr. Roybal represented a national laboratory testing company that received an HHS OIG subpoena regarding Medicaid reimbursement issues. The government completed its investigation without any consequences for the laboratory.
- Laboratory Testing (Central District of California): In 2016 and 2017, Mr. Roybal represented a laboratory in a qui tam FCA action. The District Court granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of the client and the case was dismissed with prejudice.
- Pharmacy Over-the-Counter Prescription Drug Billing and Dispensing (Central District of California; 23 State Attorneys General): From 2012 through 2014, Mr. Roybal represented a Fortune 50 company regarding a qui tam FCA investigation of alleged improper billing, labeling, and dispensing practices concerning Medicare and Medicaid program reimbursement for OTC prescription drugs. After a series of evidentiary presentations, Mr. Roybal convinced the DOJ and whistleblower counsel to dismiss the action.
- Federal Government FCA Investigation of Skilled Nursing Facility Chain: From 2006 through 2008, Mr. Roybal represented a large skilled nursing facility chain and counseled the client regarding parallel criminal, civil and administrative allegations of fraudulent practices involving the Medicare program. Mr. Roybal worked with the client to resolve alleged overpayment claims.
- California Healthcare Association Compliance Manual: Based on Mr. Roybal's extensive experience regarding FCA matters and Government investigations, he was asked to write the California Healthcare Association's Compliance Manual which was distributed to over 400 hospitals and other healthcare providers located in California. Mr. Roybal has lectured throughout California regarding Medicare and other healthcare fraud and abuse subjects including preventing and defending qui tam FCA actions. Mr. Roybal has conducted numerous internal investigations and compliance assessments for healthcare providers.
Procurement/Aerospace & Defense
- Electronic Parts Distributor Investigation (Northern District of California): Beginning in 2021, Mr. Roybal represents an electronic parts distributor regarding a criminal investigation being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) involving potential counterfeit parts issues.
- National Construction Company Investigation: In 2021, Mr. Roybal represented a national construction company in response to a former employee’s concerns and allegations regarding potential violations of the FCA in connection with a U.S. Navy construction contract and related whistleblower retaliation matters. The matter was successfully resolved with no adverse consequences.
- U.S. Navy Shipbuilding Investigation: Beginning in 2020, Mr. Roybal represents a tank cleaning company that performs work on U.S. Navy ships involving maintenance, repair and overhaul. Mr. Roybal is conducting an internal investigation and providing advice and counseling regarding various government contracting matters including environmental, health, and safety regulations.
- Steel Production Manufacturing Company Investigation: In 2020 and 2021, Mr. Roybal represented a steel production manufacturing company in connection with potential nonconforming products delivered to federal, state, and local transportation and highway agencies. He conducted an internal investigation and provided advice and counsel regarding state and local procurement laws. There were no adverse consequences.
- Food Service Distributor Investigation: Beginning in 2020, Mr. Roybal represents a leading food service distributor in school nutrition food and supplies and state and local correctional facilities. Mr. Roybal is conducting an internal investigation and providing advice and counsel regarding state and local procurement laws and regulations including Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWOBEs).
- USAID OIG Investigation: In 2019 and 2020, Mr. Roybal represented an awardee of USAID grants and other government funding to perform services around the world. In response to USAID OIG requests for information, Mr. Roybal produced various materials to the investigative agents that subsequently abandoned the investigation.
- Federal and California State Price-Fixing (Central District of California): From 2017 through 2020, Mr. Roybal represented a cement manufacturer in a qui tam FCA case in which the relator alleged violations of federal and state antitrust price-fixing laws as a predicate offense to violations of federal and California state FCA statutes. The Court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss with prejudice. The dismissal was affirmed before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- California State Environmental Impact Reports (State Court of California): In 2019, Mr. Roybal represented a geological consulting firm in a qui tam FCA case in which the relator alleged the firm violated the FCA by preparing false reports involving a proposed water desalinization treatment facility. Mr. Roybal was successful in getting the Court to dismiss with prejudice the qui tam FCA action.
- California Public Agency: Beginning in 2019, Mr. Roybal represents an international IT and consulting firm, and conducted an internal investigation regarding potential labor mischarging. Mr. Roybal prepared self-disclosure notices and subsequent corrective action reports including proposed remediation that were provided to the impacted State agency. Roybal is currently working with the California Attorney General’s False Claims Unit to resolve the matter.
- GSA and Trade Agreements Act (TAA) (Central District of California): From 2017 through 2019, Mr. Roybal represented a client in a qui tam FCA case in which the relator alleged violations of the TAA and FCA by selling non-compliant products through the GSA. After producing a variety of materials and mediation, the qui tam FCA allegations were successfully resolved with relator’s counsel and the Department of Justice.
- Counterfeit Parts – GIDEP Alerts – Grand Jury Subpoena (Central District of California): From 2018 through 2019, Mr. Roybal represented a manufacturer of power supply units used in Department of Defense and other government Agency applications. Mr. Roybal advised the client with respect to GIDEP Alerts, risk mitigation plans, supply chain management, and responses to Grand Jury subpoena requests for information issued by a criminal AUSA in the Central District of California. The government’s investigation concluded with no adverse consequences to the manufacturer.
- USAF B-2 Bomber Program (Central District of California): From 2014 through 2016, Mr. Roybal represented a Fortune 100 company involving a DOD OIG subpoena. After producing a variety of materials, the federal government dropped their investigation.
- General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule Contracting (District of Colorado): From 2012 through 2015, Mr. Roybal represented a Fortune 100 company regarding a GSA Inspector General and DOJ investigation of alleged improper billing and collection practices involving the Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, and the National Institutes of Health. After responding to multiple FCA Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs), Mr. Roybal convinced the DOJ to drop its investigations.
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Cost Accounting (Central District of California): From 2012 through 2014, Mr. Roybal represented a Fortune 100 company involving parallel criminal, civil, and administrative investigations of alleged cost accounting violations involving a UAV demonstrator to be marketed to the U.S. Army, Department of Homeland Security, and other government agencies. After a series of evidentiary presentations, Mr. Roybal convinced the DOJ and other federal agencies to drop their investigations.
- U.S. Navy F/A-18 External Fuel Tanks and Army Blackhawk Helicopter Landing Gear Programs (Central District of California; Southern District of Ohio): From 2009 through 2013, Mr. Roybal represented a Fortune 50 defense contractor in defending allegations of fraud and abuse involving defective products and product substitution. The Navy fuel tanks matter commenced as a Grand Jury investigation but through a series of evidentiary presentations, our client obtained a rare letter of declination from the United States Attorney in Los Angeles. The parallel qui tam FCA allegations were successfully resolved with United States Attorneys in California and Ohio.
- Federal and State Telecommunications Billings & Collections Operations (Central District of California; 8 State Attorneys General): From 2006 through 2011, Mr. Roybal represented a Fortune 200 financial institution and defended against federal and state Attorney General allegations of FCA violations involving excessive billings and collections on rentals and sales type leases of telecommunications equipment. Mr. Roybal responded to multiple federal and state subpoenas and coordinated the multi-jurisdiction defense of alleged qui tam FCA violations. The matter was successfully settled with all interested jurisdictions for a modest amount.
- Federal Government FCA Investigations of B-2 Bomber and Spaced-Based Assets Government Programs: From 2002 through 2010, Mr. Roybal represented a Fortune 100 defense contractor and defended multiple FCA allegations of engineering fraud and abuse in high technologies areas on the USAF B-2 Bomber and a variety of space-based asset programs. The Government's two separate investigations were successfully resolved.
- DoD Carbon Fiber and Composite Materials Programs (Central District of California): From 2004 through 2008, Mr. Roybal litigated a qui tam FCA matter involving more than 1,000 defense contracts in which the whistleblower alleged price fixing of carbon fiber materials which caused the U.S. Government to overpay for end items containing composite parts. The whistleblowers initially alleged single damages exceeding $1 billion (potentially trebled). After substantial discovery and filing of motions for summary judgment, the whistleblowers and DOJ accepted a small fraction of their original demand and settled the matter.
- USAF Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (J-STARS) Program (Western District of Louisiana): From 2001 through 2005, Mr. Roybal defended a criminal and civil Government investigation into alleged defective parts and labor mischarging involving the USAF's J-STARS program. The DOJ served Grand Jury subpoenas, Office of Inspector General ("OIG") subpoenas and interviewed dozens of witnesses. In 2004, Mr. Roybal prepared a comprehensive report to the DOJ rebutting their allegations of violations of the FCA. Mr. Roybal met with the DOJ and local Assistant United States Attorneys and defended the written report and related exhibits. Within six (6) months, the DOJ dropped all criminal and civil FCA allegations and the client paid no settlement.
- U.S. Navy F/A-18 Fighter and Aerial Target Drone Programs (Central District of California): From 1995 through 2003, Mr. Roybal litigated a qui tam FCA matter involving the F/A-18 fighter jet and Navy Target Drone programs in which the whistleblower and DOJ alleged defective or substandard goods were sold to the U.S. Navy. Early in the action, defense counsel convinced the DOJ to abandon its allegations involving the F/A-18 fighter jet. The DOJ vigorously pursued its allegations involving the Target Drone program and took over 125 depositions. The DOJ alleged more than $200 million in single damages (potentially trebled). One month before trial was scheduled to commence in August 2003, the DOJ and whistleblower accepted a small fraction of their prior demands and settled the matter.
- USAF Peacekeeper (MX) Ballistic Missile Guidance System (Central District of California): From 1987 through 1996, Mr. Roybal litigated a qui tam FCA matter involving a ballistic missile guidance system in which the whistleblower and Department of Justice ("DOJ") alleged labor mischarging, defective parts and other claims for relief under the FCA. The DOJ demanded more than $100 million in single damages (potentially trebled). This was the first FCA matter that was tried in which the DOJ had intervened since the FCA was amended in 1986 to make it easier for the government to prevail. After nearly 10 weeks of trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant on 13 separate claims for relief. The verdict received national attention and was described by The National Law Journal as one of the biggest defense verdicts of 1996.
- U.S. Navy F/A -18 Fighter Program (Central District of California): From 1988 through 1995, Mr. Roybal litigated a qui tam FCA matter involving the F/A-18 fighter jet in which the whistleblower and DOJ claimed defective pricing, cost accounting, and other violations under the FCA. After substantial discovery and motion practice, the DOJ ultimately gave up its jury trial rights and agreed to try the matter before a two-judge panel under a baseball-styled arbitration. The DOJ demanded $40 million while defendant offered $4 million. At the end of the arbitration, the judges selected the amount that most closely approximated the liability, if any, of the defendant. The Court ruled in favor of the defendant.
Financial Institutions/Residential Mortgage Lending
- Money Laundering (Western District of Pennsylvania and FBI): In 2018 and 2019, Mr. Roybal represented a Fortune 100 national bank in response to a Grand Jury subpoena and a related civil asset forfeiture order regarding suspected money laundering allegations involving a group of pharmacists. Mr. Roybal produced a variety of materials to the FBI including FinCEN reports to the satisfaction of the government investigators.
- Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) (District of Massachusetts and Main Justice): In 2017, Mr. Roybal began representing a national laboratory testing company in response to a FIRREA subpoena served by the DOJ involving alleged fraud of a large investor group.
- Mortgage Lending (Northern District of California): From 2016 through 2017, Mr. Roybal represented a Fortune 100 financial institution regarding a qui tam FCA lawsuit that alleged improper residential lending practices involving FHA-insured loans. The Court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss based on deficient pleadings.
- Mortgage Lending (Main Justice, District of Columbia and Northern District of New York): In 2016 and 2017, Mr. Roybal represented a residential mortgage company regarding multiple HUD OIG subpoenas involving FHA-insured loans and alleged violations of the FCA. Mr. Roybal prepared corrective action plans and other remedial measures to bring the company into compliance with HUD and FHA regulations.
- Mortgage Lending (Central and Northern Districts of California): From 2013 through 2016, Mr. Roybal represented a Fortune 100 financial institution regarding a qui tam FCA lawsuit that alleged improper residential mortgage lending practices involving FHA-insured loans. The Court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss based on the FCA's public disclosure and original source rules. The Ninth Circuit later confirmed the dismissal with prejudice.
Additional FCA Advice and Counsel Leading to Favorable Results:
Mr. Roybal has counseled many other clients involving Government investigations and FCA allegations which have led to favorable results. These diverse matters have included alleged: (1) Medicare fraud regarding Durable Medical Equipment ("DME"); (2) Medicare and Medicaid fraud regarding physician kickbacks; (3) reverse false claims regarding improper withholding of royalty payments to the federal and California state governments; (4) failure to pay New Mexico gross receipts taxes; (5) failure of credit unions to escheat dormant deposits to the state of California under the escheatment laws; (6) labor and material overcharging for materials and supplies involving the Iraq war; (7) improper use of federal research and development funds; and (8) failure to warn of health hazards caused by selling products to the government containing excessive amounts of lead, among others.
The Legal 500 USA, Government Contracts, 2020-2021
The Legal 500 USA, Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2018
- Pratt's Government Contracting Law Report, 03.2022
- Pratt's Government Contracting Law Report, 03.2021
- Pratt's Government Contracting Law Report, 02.2021
- National Defense Magazine, 03.2019
- The Government Contractor, 11.20.2018
- The Government Contractor, 11.15.2017
- The Government Contractor, 06.21.2017
- The Government Contractor, 12.21.2016
Government Contracts & Investigations Blog
- "The Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery Calls For Increased Funding and Expanded Jurisdiction In Its Quarterly Report To Congress," August 16, 2021
- "The Next Four Years of FCPA Enforcement: What to Expect From the Biden Administration," November 19, 2020
- "Prepare for a Perfect Storm of COVID-19 Whistleblower Claims," June 17, 2020
- "Small Business Money Grab Under the CARES Act Brings Enforcement Risks," April 23, 2020
- "FCPA Landmines Beneath the Surface of the COVID-19 Crisis," April 15, 2020
- "The CARES Act – Who’s Minding the Store?," April 9, 2020
- "Guard Against False Claims as Massive Government Spending Rolls Out to Combat COVID-19," March 19, 2020
False Claims Act Defense Law Blog Posts
- "First Circuit on Escobar Remand: Relators’ Allegations of Regulatory Violations Sufficiently Material to State a Claim Under the FCA," November 23, 2016
- "FCA’s 'Implied Certification' Theory Survives," June 17, 2016
- "Did the FCA’s “Implied Certification” Theory Dodge a Bullet?," April 20, 2016
- myLawCLE Webinar, Webinar, 07.15.2020
- First Target: Organized Crime/Fraudsters. Next: Legitimate Businesses. Make Sure It’s Not You!, Webinar, 05.14.2020
- An Update on the Civil False Claims Act, Fraud and Compliance Issues, November 21-22, 2019
Member, State Bar of California
Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
Member, California Association of Business Trial Lawyers
Member, American Bar Association
Member, National Defense Industrial Association
Member, American Health Lawyers Association
- Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade
- Commercial Lending and Financial Transactions
- White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations
J.D., Columbia University, 1986
B.A., University of Utah, 1983, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
- Federal District Courts for the Central, Northern and Southern Districts of California
- Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
- U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C.