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United States ex rel. Rodriguez v. Hughes, et al., Faculty Version

The four case files of United States ex rel. Rodriguez v. Hughes, et al. explore the suit brought by Juan Rodriguez, a prominent engineer, who acted as a whistleblower against his employer, Hughes Aircraft, for violations of the False Claims Act. Richard Hughes (CEO of Hughes Aircraft) learned that the United States Department of Defense (DOD) was looking for a new helicopter to provide to the Mexican government as part of the United States' Mérida Initiative, which provided Mexico resources to help it fight its war against the drug cartels. Rodriguez claims that he saw cracks in the cabin of one of the Screaming Eagles Mexico helicopters, and that he also saw workers welding over the cracks. Rodriguez claimed that he considered the welding over of cracks in the cabin of the Screaming Eagle a "cover up" of the failure to conduct testing and thus an act of fraud—passing on defective helicopters to the governments of the United States and Mexico.
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United States ex rel. Rodriguez v. Hughes, et al., is also available in these versions:

Trial Version
ISBN 9781601567802
$38

Relators Version
ISBN 9781601566997
$38

Defendants Version
ISBN 9781601567017
$38

NITA would like to acknowledge that this case file was produced through Emory’s Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution, with a special thanks to Reuben Guttman and the firm of Grant & Eisenhofer for their help in authoring the materials. 

The four case files of United States ex rel. Rodriguez v. Hughes, et al. explore the suit brought by Juan Rodriguez, a prominent engineer, who acted as a whistleblower against his employer, Hughes Aircraft, for violations of the False Claims Act.

Richard Hughes (CEO of Hughes Aircraft) learned that the United States Department of Defense (DOD) was looking for a new helicopter to provide to the Mexican government as part of the United States' Mérida Initiative, which provided Mexico resources to help it fight its war against the drug cartels. Hughes, on behalf of Hughes Aircraft, entered into a sole source contract with the DOD. Hughes was favorably positioned to do so as it was the sole manufacturer of the Screaming Eagle helicopter S-70, the model the DOD was seeking to purchase.

Rodriguez's employment background put him in a position to ascertain whether his employer, Hughes Aircraft, was making false claims to the DOD. Initially, Rodriguez had been employed at Sikorsky Aircraft Inc., a predecessor of Hughes, working in the design and manufacture of the first Screaming Eagle helicopters. Later Sikorsky Aircraft was bought by Hughes Aircraft. During his tenure at Hughes, Rodriguez had designed and retrofitted early versions of the Screaming Eagle helicopter. When retrofitted with heavy missiles, one of the first versions, the UH-A, suffered cracks on landing. Accordingly, metals intended to help crash-proof the helicopter were added to the design. Hughes also started to employ Magnaflux testing to ensure that later versions of the Screaming Eagle did not have subsurface cracks.

Rodriguez claims that he saw cracks in the cabin of one of the Screaming Eagles Mexico helicopters, and that he also saw workers welding over the cracks. Rodriguez claimed that he considered the welding over of cracks in the cabin of the Screaming Eagle a "cover up" of the failure to conduct testing and thus an act of fraud—passing on defective helicopters to the governments of the United States and Mexico.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

TIMELINE

STIPULATIONS

PLEADINGS

      Complaint and Jury Demand

      Answer


MATERIALS AVAILABLE TO ALL PARTIES

      DOD Sole Source Justification

      12/14/YR-6 Letter from Hughes to Kessler

      DOD Contract 76-415 Excerpts

      Certifications

      Rodriguez Nondisclosure Agreement

      Police Report

      Baker Death Certificate

      Letter from Rodriguez to Ginsberg


MATERIALS AVAILABLE TO THE RELATORS

      Juan Rodriguez Initial Interview

      Maria Lozano Initial Interview

      5/5/YR-2 Email from Guttman to Rodriguez

      5/5/YR-2 Email from Rodriguez to Guttman with attached Draft of Confidential Internal Investigative Report

      5/6/YR-2 Email from Guttman to Rodriguez

      5/7/YR-2 Email from Rodriguez to Guttman

      Guttman Memorandum to File re Rodriguez Interview


MATERIALS AVAILABLE TO THE DEFENDANTS

      Richard Hughes Initial Interview

      General Allen Crystal Initial Interview

      5/3/YR-2 Email from Boies to Crystal

      5/3/YR-2 Email from Crystal to Boies with attached Draft of Confidential Internal Investigative Report

      5/3/YR-2 Email from Boies to Crystal

      5/3/YR-2 Email from Crystal to Boies

      5/5/YR-2 Email from Boies to Crystal

      5/6/YR-2 Email from Crystal to Boies

      5/17/YR-2 Email from Crystal to Boies

      2/18/YR-2 Email from Crystal to Baker

      5/5/YR-2 Email from Baker to Crystal with attached Confidential Internal Investigation Report

      5/5/YR-2 Email from Crystal to Baker

      3/23/YR-3 Memorandum to File re Call with Arroyo

      Crystal Cell Phone Log

      New York Times Article

      5/7/YR-2 Email from Baker to Rodriguez

      5/7/YR-2 Rodriguez Memo to File re Baker and Crash Investigation

      Nita Journal Baker Obituary

      Affidavit by José Arroyo

      Lozano and Rodriguez Facebook Messages


EXERCISES AND LAW LIBRARY

      Part One:  Motion to Dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6)

           A.  Exercise: Motion to Dismiss

           B.  Memorandum of Law

           C.  Selected Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

           D.  Selected Portions of False Claim Statute

           E.  Cases



      Part Two:  The Attorney-Client Privilege, The Crime-Fraud Exception, Privilege Logs, and Motions to Compel Discovery

           A.  Exercise: Memorandum and Relevant Rules

           B.  Memorandum of Law

           C.  Selected Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

           D.  Selected Federal Rules of Evidence

           E.  Selected Sections of Model Rule of Professional Responsibility

           F.  Cases



      Part Three:  Daubert Motion and Motion for a Protective Order

           A.  Exercises

           B.  Law Library and Supporting Materials

           C.  Cases




      Part Four:  Summary Judgment

           A.  Exercises

           B.  Law Library: Memorandum of Law, Cases and Rule 56

           C.  Cases

           D.  Depositions of the Fact Witnesses