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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In the previous appeal in this qui tam action under the False Claims Act, United States, ex rel. Garibaldi, 244 F.3d 486 (5th cir. 2001), this court vacated the plaintiffs’ judgment on the verdict and rendered judgment for the Orleans Parish School Board holding that the board was not a “person” subject to liability under the FCA. This court’s judgment in that case became final when the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari. Subsequently, the Supreme Court, in Cook County v. United States ex rel Chandler, 538 U.S. 119 (2003), held that local governments are “persons” amenable to qui tam actions under the FCA. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Chandler, the plaintiffs filed a motion in the district court for relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) from this court’s final judgment in Garibaldi I. The district court concluded that Chandler had overruled Garibaldi I, granted plaintiffs’ motion, and re-entered its judgment on the verdict for the plaintiffs against the school board. The school board appealed. HOLDING:Reversed. The present case is not atypical of the many instances in which the Supreme Court has granted certiorari and rendered a decision resolving a circuit split, the court states. Undoubtedly a large percentage of them involve most of the elements upon which the district court relied to characterize the Chandler decision’s impact on Garibaldi I as one involving “extraordinary circumstances.” After almost every resolution of a circuit conflict there is a losing litigant somewhere who could argue similarly for reopening his case because it was decided erroneously in light of the subsequent Supreme Court decision. The differences between such cases in terms of the closeness of the relationship between the decision in the losing litigant’s case and the subsequent Supreme Court decision, diligence in filing for relief from judgment, proximate causation of the circuit conflict and the like would appear to be marginal in the large majority of split resolution situations. The court does not think the present case has any features that cause it to be exceptional to such a marked extent from other cases involving resolution of circuit conflicts as to create “extraordinary circumstances” justifying reopening of the judgment. An examination of the details of the arguments for reopening the judgment, which are based upon language in Batts v. Tow -Motor Forklift Co., 66 F.3d 743 (5th Cir. 1995), does not persuade the court. The court finds that the statement in Batts that relief from judgment may be appropriate where the subsequent decision is closely related to the judgment from which relief is sought, “such as where the Supreme Court resolves a conflict between another circuit ruling and that case,” was dicta unnecessary to the Batts holding and so removed from its core that it may not have received the considered judgment of the whole court. Batts cited the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Ritter v. Smith, 811 F.2d 1398 (11th Cir. 1987). Even if that case presented “extraordinary circumstances” under Rule 60(b)(6), the court finds it clearly distinguishable, and it does not persuade the court that an exceptional situation prevails here. In discussing Ritter, the court decides that an extraordinary situation justifying relief from judgment is not created every time the Supreme Court lists a case as one that merely contributed to a split between circuits. This factor should not be dispositive of a Rule 60(b)(6) motion and was not, in fact, dispositive in Ritter, the court decides. The court concludes that “the great desirability of preserving the principle of finality of judgments preponderates heavily over any claim of injustice in this case.” The court concludes that the circumstances of this case do not justify the district court’s use of its discretion to grant relief under Rule 60(b)(6). The district court’s judgment is reversed. The judgment of this court in Girabaldi I is reinstated. OPINION:James L. Dennis, J.; Reavley, Jones, and Dennis, JJ.

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