Category: Relators

Triggering the Public Disclosure Bar: It’s in the Details

Lindsey Schmidt

On February 5, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania rejected a defendant’s public disclosure bar defense, allowing the relators to proceed with their qui tam action under the False Claims Act. Sturgeon, et al., v. PharMerica Corp, No. 15-cv-6829, 2020 WL 586978, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 5, 2020).  In denying defendant PharAmerica’s motion to dismiss, the Court explained why the...

DOJ’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force Priorities Highlighted By Bid-Rigging Qui Tam Settlement

Sam Bolstad

In an article published late last year, Dorsey reported on the Department of Justice’s announcement regarding the formation of a new Procurement Collusion Strike Force.  The Strike Force focuses on the nexus between antitrust and public procurement, with the stated aim of targeting antitrust crimes “such as bid-rigging conspiracies and related fraudulent schemes.”  If there was any question whether DOJ was serious about targeting such...

Justice Department Touts FY2019 False Claims Act Statistics as Evidence of Administration’s “High Priority” Against Fraud, but the Numbers Show Less of a Priority on Qui Tams

Kirk Schuler

Earlier this month, the United States Department of Justice issued a press release to announce recoveries of over $3 billion from False Claims Act cases in FY2019. In making the announcement, Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Civil Division emphasized, “The significant number of settlements and judgments obtained over the past year demonstrate the high priority this administration places on deterring fraud against the...

Relator Strikes Twice Against Walgreens

Vanessa J. Szalapski

For those who pay close attention to FCA settlements, the January 22 press release from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York of a $60 million settlement against Walgreens related to its Prescription Savings Club (“PSC”) program should not come as a complete surprise. In an earlier press release, almost two years ago to the day, the Southern District of New...

In One Decision, The Eleventh Circuit Creates Two Circuit Splits

Kirk Schuler

Rejecting the views of the Fourth and Tenth Circuits, the Eleventh Circuit held the FCA’s three year statute of limitations period in § 3731(b)(2) applies to a relator’s claim even when the United States declines to intervene, and in so doing held it is the knowledge of a government official, not the relator, that triggers the three year limitations period, rejecting the contrary view of...

Two Recent Justice Department Memoranda May Have Significant Consequences for Pending and Future False Claims Act Enforcement

Alex Hontos

In recent weeks, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued two memoranda that might change the calculus of False Claims Act (“FCA”) cases.  The memoranda at a minimum provide organizations with new—or at least invigorated—defenses to qui tam actions and civil enforcement matters. First, on January 10, Michael Granston, Director of DOJ’s Civil Frauds section, issued a memorandum encouraging DOJ trial attorneys to consider dismissing...

Court Rules that “Upon Information And Belief” Allegations of FCA Violations Leveled Against Competitor Fail to Withstand Pleading Requirements

Peter R. Mayer

A Federal court in Ohio recently dismissed a qui tam lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act by Kustom Products, Inc. against Hupp & Associates, Inc., a defense contractor, and in so doing provided judicial treatment of the common practice of alleging facts “upon information and belief.”  United States ex rel. Kustom Prods. v. Hupp & Assocs., No. 2:15-cv-03101, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72814 (S.D. Ohio May...

Court Examines Standard for Approval of Settlement of Qui Tam Over a Relator’s Objection

Betsy Sellers

The False Claims Act (FCA) allows plaintiffs/relators to bring qui tam actions, in which the government may then elect to intervene.  The FCA also provides that “[t]he Government may settle a [qui tam] action with the defendant notwithstanding the objections of the person initiating the action if the court determines, after a hearing, that the proposed settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable under all the...

Northern District of Illinois Dismisses Whistleblower’s FCA Suit for Failing to Connect Allegations of Misconduct with Submission of False Claims

Nathan Ebnet

In United States ex rel. Keen v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., relator Janice Keen sued her former employer—the pharmaceutical company Teva—for violations of the FCA.  According to Ms. Keen, Teva trained its sales force to misleadingly promote and sell a medicine used to treat muscle spasms.  Ms. Keen alleged that Teva’s deceptive practices caused physicians to prescribe the medicine in situations for which it was...

New Orleans Federal Court Dismisses Relators’ Improper Billing Claims against FEMA Temporary Housing Contractor Due to Insufficient Evidence

Jeremy Schlosser

On September 14, 2016, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana granted a government contractor’s summary judgment motion and dismissed a lawsuit brought against it by False Claims Act relators (“Relators”) because Relators failed to identify evidence supporting the existence of a genuine issue of material fact regarding their claims that the contractor had improperly billed the Federal Emergency Management Agency...