In this post, we summarize noteworthy False Claims Act (FCA) decisions so far from 2023. Continue Reading Recent False Claims Act Decisions to Know
In July 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed a False Claims Act complaint filed by CKD Project, LLC, an entity created for the purpose of filing the lawsuit, which alleged that Fresenius violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute by over-paying physicians for a majority interest in certain dialysis centers in exchange for the physicians’ continued referrals. Continue Reading Second Circuit Holds False Claims Act Complaint Is Barred by SEC Filings
On August 25, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in which it held that ex parte patent prosecutions by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) qualify as “other Federal . . . hearing[s]” under prong (ii) of the False Claims Act’s Public Disclosure Bar. In so ruling, the Ninth Circuit affirmed that the Public Disclosure Bar should not be read in a restrictive manner but should be given a broad construction.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Affirms Broad Scope of False Claims Act’s Public Disclosure Bar
A relator is a private person or entity who files a False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit on behalf of the United States in exchange for receiving a portion any recovery from the defendant. The FCA was enacted in 1863 in response to defense contractors defrauding the Union Army during the Civil War. But, it wasn’t until 1986, when Congress supercharged the FCA by incentivizing more private whistleblowers to file lawsuits on behalf of the government, that the FCA became the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) primary enforcement tool for combatting fraud against the government.
Continue Reading False Claims Act Fundamentals: What Is a Relator?
As 2020 draws to a close, we take a look back at a number of the most significant False Claims Act (FCA) cases of the prior 12 months. Although no blockbuster cases emerged, such as the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Escobar, there were a number of noteworthy cases that will have lasting impact on future FCA litigation. We discuss those cases briefly below. We expect to cover these cases and much more in our Healthcare Fraud and Abuse Review, which we will release in early 2021.
U.S. ex rel. Janssen v. Lawrence Memorial Hospital, 949 F.3d 533 (10th Cir. 2020)
Background. In 2016, the Supreme Court held in Escobar that whether a defendant can be held liable under the FCA for violating a statute, rule, regulation, or contract provision turns, in part, on the elements of materiality and scienter, which the Court said are “rigorous” and “demanding.” Post-Escobar, courts have grappled with specific applications of these standards, with some courts appearing to apply them less “rigorously” than others.
Allegations. In U.S. ex rel. Janssen v. Lawrence Memorial Hospital, the relator primarily alleged that the defendant hospital falsified patient arrival times associated with certain CMS pay-for-reporting and pay-for-performance programs. The relator introduced proof that the hospital had knowingly falsified arrival times in patient records by recording actual arrival times on patient triage sheets but then entering later times in the medical record or delaying patient registration until after the administration of some tests.Continue Reading Key False Claims Act Cases in 2020
On February 25, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee dismissed a relator’s qui tam False Claims Act (FCA) suit alleging that the defendants had continued the “exact scheme” previously alleged in U.S. ex rel. Deming v. Jackson-Madison Cty. Gen. Hosp., et al. involving allegations of medically unnecessary cardiac testing and procedures.
The defendants in U.S. ex rel. Maur v. Cmty. Health Sys., Inc., et al., represented by Bass, Berry & Sims and others, moved to dismiss the relator’s action on two grounds. First, the defendants argued that the FCA’s public disclosure bar prohibited the relator’s action as the lawsuit raised substantially the same allegations as those publicly disclosed in the Deming action and subsequent press releases related to that lawsuit. Second, the defendants maintained that the relator had failed to plead any FCA claims with the requisite particularity under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b). The district court granted the defendants’ motions and dismissed the relator’s action on both grounds.Continue Reading Public Disclosure Bar and Pleading Deficiencies Doom Tennessee FCA Case
Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Taylor Chenery commented on a decision from a federal district court in Pennsylvania allowing a whistleblower’s case to proceed and rejecting the defendant’s argument that the claims at issue were barred because the allegations were previously publicly disclosed. The case involves False Claims Act (FCA) allegations against Medtronic Inc. that the company provided improper kickbacks to healthcare providers to encourage them to prescribe Medtronic devices.
Continue Reading Public Disclosure Bar Analysis in False Claims Act Case
The FCA continues to be the federal government’s primary civil enforcement tool for investigating allegations that healthcare providers or government contractors defrauded the federal government. In the coming weeks, we continue to take a closer look at recent legal developments involving the FCA. This week, we examine the FCA’s public disclosure bar and recent cases considering whether disclosures are sufficient to bar FCA claims.
The FCA’s public disclosure bar prevents a relator from filing a qui tam complaint based on information previously disclosed to the public, thereby dissuading parasitic lawsuits based on publicly available information. In cases considering the scope of the public disclosure bar, courts have continued to examine the issue of how or to whom information must be disseminated in order to constitute a “public disclosure,” which often has resulted in a narrowing of the public disclosure bar’s scope in a given case. Such cases marked a shift away from decisions favorable to FCA defendants toward a more nuanced and specific application of the public disclosure bar.Continue Reading FCA Deeper Dive: Original Sources under the FCA’s Public Disclosure Bar
In a question of first impression, the Eleventh Circuit recently examined whether a relator’s secondhand knowledge of his employer’s billing practices was sufficient to make him an original source relative to the FCA’s public disclosure bar. Following several other circuits, the Eleventh Circuit answered that question by concluding that such knowledge would not render a relator an original source.
Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Holds Secondhand Knowledge Does Not Make Relator an Original Source
The FCA continues to be the federal government’s primary civil enforcement tool for investigating allegations that healthcare providers or government contractors defrauded the federal government. In the coming weeks, we will take a closer look at recent legal developments involving the FCA. This week, we examine the FCA’s public disclosure bar and recent cases considering whether disclosures are sufficient to bar FCA claims.
Courts have continued to clarify the requirements for a relator to be considered an original source, and thus exempted from the public disclosure bar, under the FCA’s pre-PPACA and post-PPACA versions. In these cases, courts have typically focused on the requirements that a relator have “direct and independent knowledge of the information on which the allegations are based” (pre-PPACA) and “knowledge that is independent of and materially adds to the publicly disclosed allegations or transactions” (post-PPACA).Continue Reading FCA Deeper Dive: Original Sources under the FCA’s Public Disclosure Bar