In general, under Rule 9(b), a plaintiff must plead each defendant’s role in a fraud separately, not lumping defendants together. However, that is not true when a group of defendants all act in the same manner in committing the fraud—like the spokes in a hub and wheel conspiracy. Here, the plaintiff’s False Claims Act complaint properly alleged that all the defendant health insurers submitted false claims using false diagnoses of patients’ medical condition from the same vendor, MedXM. Each health insurer submitted claims for Medicare reimbursement at rates that were higher than otherwise have been true in reliance on the MedXM diagnoses. No further differentiation among the health insurers was needed to comply with Rule 9(b) since they all acted the same way. Also, the complaint only needed to satisfy Rule 8(a) standards in alleging knowledge of falsity, and it adequately did so by alleging features of the MedXM diagnoses that should have caused doubt about their accuracy.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Gould, J.); July 9, 2018 (amended September 11, 2018); 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 25708