Recently the District of Columbia asked a Washington federal court to grant summary judgment in its favor in a False Claims Act lawsuit that was brought nearly a decade ago by Theresa Weston Saunders, a former employee in its Office of the Chief Technology Officer. According to the motion, Saunders failed to show how the district retaliated against her when she alleged that the OCTO’s contracts failed to comply with district and federal regulations. The motion states that no individual who was involved in Saunders’ reassignment or termination was even aware of her allegations. The district further contends that Saunders’ was reassigned because of poor performance and was eventually terminated because she refused to be available for meetings and work full time.
Additionally, the district contends that Saunders’ cannot bring her retaliation claim under the FCA because it does not count as an activity that is protected under the act. The motion states that Saunders’ reporting of “concerns to her supervisor regarding a failure to comply with state and federal regulations… does not constitute ‘protected activity’ under the False Claims Act.” The district also asserts that Saunders cannot claim that she was discriminated based on race because there is no proof to support that accusation.
Lastly, the district claims Saunders’ cannot bring a claim for deprivation of liberty interest without due process because as an at-will employee she had no such interest. The spokesman for the D.C. attorney general’s office declined to comment on the motion and Saunders attorney was not available for comment.