Supreme Court To Decide Scope of FCA Public Disclosure Bar

February 28, 2011

Thanks in part to congressional amendments expanding the scope of liability and removing barriers to filing suit under the statute, 2010 was a banner year for the False Claims Act ("FCA"). According to data compiled by the Department of Justice, 573 FCA qui tam complaints were filed under seal in 2010, up from 433 in 2009 and 379 in 2008. The increase in cases was accompanied by a corresponding increase in the total amount of civil settlements and judgments obtained by the government and individual plaintiffs (known as "relators"). For 2010, the government secured over $3 billion in civil settlements and judgments, a 25% increase over 2009; relators' earnings increased at a similar rate. This spring, the United States Supreme Court will decide whether a key provision of the FCA statute should be construed in line with the majority of courts of appeals, and thereby provide some restraint on this expanding source of litigation. The Court is scheduled to hear oral argument in this case tomorrow, March 1.

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