Difference between revisions of "False Claims Act"

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The statute of limitations for a [https://www.zuckermanlaw.com/false-claims-act-whistleblower-retaliation-lawyer/ False Claims Act whistleblower retaliation case] is '''three years.'''
The statute of limitations for a [https://www.zuckermanlaw.com/false-claims-act-whistleblower-retaliation-lawyer/ False Claims Act whistleblower retaliation case] is '''three years.'''
='''False Claims Act Public Disclosure Bar'''=
The public disclosure bar prohibits a relator from bringing a [https://www.zuckermanlaw.com/false-claims-act-resources-corporate-whistleblowers/ False Claims Act] lawsuit based on a fraud that has already been disclosed through certain public channels, unless the relator is an “original source” of the information. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4)(A).  An original source is “an individual who has direct and independent knowledge of the information on which the allegations are based and has voluntarily provided the information to the Government before filing [suit].”  § 3730(e)(4)(B).
The public disclosure bar asks whether the relator’s allegations are “substantially similar” to publicly available information. ''United States ex rel. Davis v. District of Columbia'', 679 F.3d 832, 836 (D.C. Cir. 2012).  “Where a public disclosure has occurred, [the government] is already in a position to vindicate society’s interests, and a ''qui tam'' action would serve no purpose.” ''United States ex rel. Feingold v. AdminaStar Federal, Inc.'', 324 F.3d 492, 495 (7th Cir. 2003).
But the public disclosure bar does not dictate that a relator must “possess direct and independent knowledge of all of the vital ingredients to a fraudulent transaction.”  ''United States ex rel. Springfield Terminal Railway Co. v. Quinn'', 14 F.3d 645, 656 (D.C. Cir. 1994).  Rather, “direct and independent knowledge of any essential element of the underlying fraud transaction” is sufficient to give the relator original-source status under the Act. Id. at 657.
In ''Springfield Terminal'', the D.C. Circuit set forth specific criteria to evaluate whether the public disclosures bars a qui tam action:
#The government has “enough information to investigate the case” either when the allegation of fraud itself has been publicly disclosed, or when both of its underlying factual elements—the misrepresentation and the truth of the matter—are already in the public domain.
#“[I]f X + Y = Z, Z represents the allegation of fraud and X and Y represent its essential elements. In order to disclose the fraudulent transaction publicly, the combination of X and Y must be revealed, from which readers or listeners may infer Z, i.e., the conclusion that fraud has been committed.” Id. at 654. Because the publicly disclosed pay vouchers reflected only the false statement (the arbitrator’s claim for payment) and not the true facts (the services actually rendered), we held that the public disclosure bar did not apply. Id. at 655-56. That said, we stressed that a qui tam action cannot be sustained where both elements of the fraudulent transaction—X and Y—are already public, even if the relator “comes forward with additional evidence incriminating the defendant.”
A September 2018 Third Circuit decision in ''Pharamerica'' clarifies that the FCA’s public disclosure bar is not triggered when a relator relies upon non-public information to make sense of publicly available information, where the public information — standing alone — could not have reasonably or plausibly supported an inference that the fraud was in fact occurring.  Similarly, the D.C. Circuit has held that the public disclosure bar is not triggered where the relator “supplied the missing link between the public information and the alleged fraud” by “rel[ying] on nonpublic information to interpret each [publicly disclosed] contract,” and where “[w]ithout [relator’s] nonpublic sources . . . there was insufficient [public] information to conclude” that the defendant actually engaged in the alleged fraud.  ''United States ex rel. Shea v. Cellco P’ship'', 863 F.3d 923, 935 (D.C. Cir. 2017).


='''The False Claims Act Protects Whistleblowers from Retaliation'''=
='''The False Claims Act Protects Whistleblowers from Retaliation'''=