The “Public Disclosure” Defense in False Claims Act Cases

The list of things that can go wrong for a plaintiff in FCA cases is a lengthy one.  One is what is known as the “public disclosure bar” under which allegations of fraud based on publicly disclosed information are statutorily excluded from courts’ jurisdiction.  This opinion  tests whether this case is subject to that bar, and in the process provides a useful background on this rather terrifying little requirement, which has another land mine  encased within its text.

Motion to Dismiss False Claims Act Complaint Granted in Part

This Monday’s False Claims Act case is a report & recommendation by a magistrate judge, adopted by the district judge, which addressed a motion to dismiss relator’s claims under the FCA’s first to file rule, and motions to dismiss under FRCP 12(b)(6) and FRCP 9, which implicated both normal and heightened standards of pleadings.  No objections to the report were filed, thus the district court’s review was limited to plain error / manifest injustice, and it did not find any.

EDTX on False Claims Act Discovery

It’s FCA Monday again, and this week’s case deals with the discoverability of certain information relating to damages in a False Claims Act case.  As with many FCA cases, this one arises out of health care related payments which resulted in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements by the government.  The specific requests here were to the government, and asked for information regarding the payment of similar claims after the government learned of the claimed violation in this case.

EDTX False Claims Act settlement documents

FCA Monday this week is a quick look at settlements and judgments in FCA litigation in the Eastern District of Texas.  The agreed judgment in this mid-six figure case contains recitals reflecting the facts of the case, as well as a copy of the settlement agreement that sets forth the claims in this case which involved Medicare overbilling for medical imaging services.  These also include the terms of the payments to be made to the named Relators.

Motion to “Re-seal”False Claims Act Case Denied

Recent years have seen regular increases in the number of filings both locally and nationally under the False Claims Act, a Civil War-era law that imposes liability on persons and companies who defraud government programs.  While the claims originated in the government’s attempt during the Civil War to reduce the spectacularly shoddy supplies sold to the government by contractors during the war, ranging from rancid supplies to shoddy equipment and diseased pack animals, the claims now deal with alleged fraudulent health care claims as well as military and other government spending.  Often these claims are brought by private individuals under the Act’s qui tam provisions, which permit payments to these “relators” of a portion of the recovered damages. The cases are typically filed under seal and are are not initially served on the defendant, and while the statutory period is 60 days, this is often extended.  This makes it difficult to track exactly how many cases are being filed, since it can be a year or more (in some cases many more) before a case is unsealed.  That makes this recent opinion by Judge Gilstrap on the propriety of “re-sealing” a FCA case of interest to FCA practitioners.