On Friday, April 21, Alston & Bird obtained the dismissal of claims against two publicly traded retail companies, Ralph Lauren and Ruth’s Hospitality, from a qui tam lawsuit the State of Delware had intervened in. The retailers, along with nearly a dozen others, were named in State of Delaware v. Card Compliant, et al., pending in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware. The state was alleging violations of the Delaware False Claims and Reporting Act resulting from alleged noncompliance with Delaware’s Escheats Law involving unused gift card balances.
In Friday’s ruling, Superior Court Judge Paul R. Wallace threw out the state’s claims because the state hadn’t done its research before signing onto the qui tam suit. The court found that the state had already brought identical claims against each company in administrative proceedings. “The state is under a statutory obligation to investigate these claims prior to intervening and proceeding with a qui tam complaint,” Judge Wallace wrote. “The state admits it did not do so.”
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