Result: $77.5 million settlement
On February 11, 2015, a California Superior Court approved a $77.5 million settlement with Office Depot to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought under the California False Claims Act.
The whistleblower was a former Office Depot account manager. The City of Los Angeles, County of Santa Clara, Stockton Unified School District, and 16 additional California cities, counties, and school districts intervened in the action to assert their claims (including common-law fraud and breach of contract) against Office Depot directly.
The governmental entities purchased office supplies from Office Depot under a nationwide supply contract known as the U.S. Communities contract. Office Depot promised in the U.S. Communities contract to sell office supplies at its best governmental pricing nationwide. The complaint alleged that Office Depot repeatedly failed to give most of its California governmental customers the lowest price it was offering other governmental customers. Other pricing misconduct was also alleged.
Robert Nelson and Lexi Hazam of Lieff Cabraser represented the whistleblower and the California cities, counties, and school districts that intervened in the suit, together with Eric Havian, Stephen Hasegawa and Edward Arens of Phillips & Cohen LLP; Altomease Kennedy of Sanford Heisler; and Mark Kleiman of the Law Office of Mark Kleiman.