United States District Court, D. Delaware
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND STATE OF DELAWARE, EX REL. WEIH CHANG, Plaintiff,
CHILDREN'S ADVOCACY CENTER OF DELAWARE, Defendant.
1, 2015, Plaintiff, United States of America and State of
Delaware, ex rel. Weih Chang ("Relator")
filed this qui tarn action pursuant to the Federal
False Claims Act ("FCA"), 31 U.S.C. § 3729
et seq., and the Delaware False Claims and Reporting
Act ("DFCA"), 6 Del. C. § 1201 et
seq., against Children's Advocacy Center of Delaware
("CAC"). (D.I. 2.) CAC filed a Motion to Dismiss for
failure to state a claim on June 15, 2016 (D.I. 20) and
Relator filed a Motion for Leave to file an Amended
Complaint. (D.I. 27.) The court granted the Motion to Amend
the Complaint, rendering CAC's first Rule 12(b)(6) Motion
moot. (D.I. 30.) Presently before the court is CAC's
Motion to Dismiss Relator's Amended Complaint (D.I. 32,
reasons discussed below, the court will grant Defendant's
motion in-part and deny it in-part.
provides assistance for victims of child abuse by working
with Delaware law enforcement agencies to investigate and
prosecute individuals who victimize children. (D.I. 32 at
¶ 18.) As a Child Advocacy Center, CAC must be
accredited by the National Children's Alliance
("NCA"). (D.I. 32 at ¶¶ 14-1.5.) Both the
NCA accreditation guidelines and Delaware state law require
Child Advocacy Centers to adopt a Multi-Disciplinary Team
("MDT") approach for its operations. (D.I. 32 at
¶ 19.) Delaware state law requires that CAC use an MDT
approach to be eligible for state funding. (D.I. 32 at ¶
alleges that CAC misrepresented its adoption of an MDT
approach for all reported abuse cases. (D.I. 32 at ¶
22.) Specifically, Relator alleges that CAC falsely reported
in its marketing materials that it adopted an MDT approach in
all abuse cases-. (Id. at ¶¶ 24-25.)
Relator also contends that CAC supported its funding request
with information that it utilized an MDT approach in all
cases and that funds would be used to hire additional mental
health staff. (Id. at ¶ 46.) In response to
this request, the State of Delaware designated CAC as a
recipient of federal funding, and defendant was allocated
$55, 800 per year. (Id. at ¶ 48.)
support of the allegations against CAC, Relator indicates
several instances when child abuse or neglect was reported to
defendant and it failed to include all members of the MDT in
the investigation. (D.I. 32 at ¶ 31.) For example, in
September of 2008, a twelve year old female reported abuse
from her physician. (Id. at ¶ 33.) CAC
interviewed the child, but a prosecutor was not present at
the interview, nor was the child sent for a medical
examination. (Id.) Similar incidents occurred on
December 9 and 12, 2008, and there is no record that a
prosecutor or medical professional was present for any
interviews, nor were the victims sent for a medical
examination. (Id. at ¶ 34-35.)
addition to the events occurring in 2008, three additional
incidents occurred on or around October 22, 2013.
(Id. at ¶ 37-41.) In two of the cases, an
employee of CAC concluded that the children were lying.
(Id.) However, the employee did not refer the case
to a mental health professional and no prosecutor, mental
health professional, or child protection services
representative was present at the interview. (Id.)
In the third case, a ten year old autistic male was
interviewed without a prosecutor, mental health professional,
or child protection services representative present.
(Id. at ¶ 41.) Lastly, plaintiff alleges that
three interviews that took place between July 1, 2013 and
June 30, 2014 were riot conducted by an MDT, despite
defendant reporting that they followed MDT protocol.
(Id. at ¶ 42.)
brings this action alleging claims under (1) the FCA; (2) the
DFCA; and (3) unjust enrichment. CAC filed a Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim in which it argues that
Relator's Amended Complaint fails to satisfy the pleading
standards for all claims. For the reasons that follow, the
court will deny the Motion for claims under the FCA and DFCA,
but grant the Motion for allegations of unjust enrichment.
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for
dismissal where the plaintiff "fail[s] to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). In considering a motion to dismiss, the court
"accept[s] all factual allegations as true, construe[s]
the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
and determine[s] whether, under any reasonable reading of the
complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief."
Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233
(3d Cir. 2008). Plaintiffs must provide sufficient factual
allegations "to state, a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Bell Ail. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). This requirement of
plausibility is satisfied when "the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "Determining whether
a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will... be a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). A
complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in
order to give the defendant fair notice of what the . ...
claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell
Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 545.
claims Relator's Amended Complaint fails to (1) meet the
pleading standards required to bring a FCA claim; (2) fails
to plead all the necessary elements for unjust enrichment
(D.I. 35 at 14); and (3) fails to plead fraud with
particularity. (D.I. 35 at 14.) CAC also asserts that the
court should not exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the
DFCA claim (D.I. 35 at 10-13.) The court will address each
contention in turn.