(CN) - New Mexico State University did not knowingly misrepresent itself as a minority institution eligible for Defense Department contracts, a federal appeals court in Denver ruled. The 10th Circuit rejected a lawsuit challenging NMSU's receipt of defense grants set aside for predominantly minority colleges.
Edward Burlbaw and Donald Bustamente filed suit under the False Claims Act (FCA), claiming the university did not maintain information on the income levels of Hispanic students and whether they were first-generation college students.
The 10th Circuit agreed with the district court that the plaintiffs did not prove that the university deliberately misrepresented its status.
The ruling for NMSU precluded a decision on the qualified immunity claim of the university and its past and present administrators.
"Because no reasonable jury could find an FCA violation," Judge Holmes wrote, "we need not decide whether qualified immunity functions as a defense."