The Supreme Court recently released important opinions that will shape False Claims Act investigations and litigation for years to come. Continue Reading Register Now: The Supreme Court and the False Claims Act Webinar Replay
On June 16, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in U.S. ex rel. Polansky v. Executive Health Resources, a closely watched case about the government’s power to dismiss a False Claims Act (FCA) qui tam lawsuit over a relator’s objection.Continue Reading Supreme Court Upholds Broad Government Authority to Dismiss Qui Tam False Claims Act Lawsuits
On June 1, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously refused to apply the Safeco objective knowledge standard to the False Claims Act (FCA), holding instead in U.S. ex rel. Schutte v. Supervalu Inc. that the FCA’s scienter element turns on a defendant’s “knowledge and subjective beliefs,” not on “what an objectively reasonable person may have known or believed.”Continue Reading Supreme Court Rejects Safeco, Holds that FCA Scienter Turns on Defendant’s Subjective Belief
Please join us on Thursday, July 13 at 12pm CT as we examine how False Claims Act cases ended up before the Supreme Court, the Court’s analysis of these cases, and the lasting impact that these opinions will have for those dealing with False Claims Act-related issues. Continue Reading Register Now: The Supreme Court and the False Claims Act Webinar
For the February 2023 issue of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Health Lawyer, the flagship publication of the ABA Health Law Section, I authored an article entitled “Recent False Claims Act Developments at the Supreme Court.”Continue Reading Supreme Court Review of Key FCA Issues
I was quoted in a recent Law360 article examining the potential impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear a pair of False Claims Act cases about the proper standard for establishing scienter under the False Claims Act. Continue Reading Supreme Court Review of False Claims Act Scienter Standard
On October 17, the U.S. Supreme Court summarily denied three petitions asking the Court to resolve a growing circuit split on the application of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b) in False Claims Act lawsuits.
Continue Reading Third Time is Not the Charm – Supreme Court Denies Cert. on Rule 9(b) Split Again
For several years, courts have wrestled with the question of whether subjective clinical decisions regarding the type and amount of treatment patients may need can be false for purposes of establishing False Claims Act (FCA) liability. The question of whether the FCA requires a showing of objective falsity has divided appellate courts in a number of recent high-profile cases.
For their part, practitioners have kept a close eye on whether the Supreme Court might bring much-needed clarity to this issue. On February 22, the Supreme Court declined to do so, denying a petition for certiorari with respect to the Third Circuit’s opinion in U.S. ex rel. Druding v. Care Alternatives.
In Druding, the relators, who were former employees of a hospice provider, filed a qui tam action alleging that the hospice provider submitted false claims by routinely certifying patients who were not terminally ill for hospice care. During the litigation, the relators’ expert examined the medical records of nearly 50 patients and concluded that the documentation did not support a certification of terminal illness for approximately 35% of those patients. The hospice provider produced its own expert who testified a physician could have reasonably concluded that the patients at issue were terminally ill and needed hospice care.Continue Reading Supreme Court Declines to Weigh in on Key Falsity Question
On March 19, 2019, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Cochise Consultancy Inc. v. United States, ex rel. Hunt regarding how the False Claims Act’s (FCA) statute of limitations applies in qui tam actions brought by a private relator in which the government declined to intervene. The Court heard lively arguments regarding a statute that has undoubtedly confused many. After oral argument, the Court appears poised to conclude that relators may appropriately take advantage of a longer limitations period.
FCA Statute of Limitations Raises Questions Regarding How and When It Should be Tolled
The FCA’s statute of limitations provision, 31 U.S.C. § 3731(b), states that a civil action may not be brought under the FCA:
- more than six years after the date on which the violation of section 3729 is committed, or
- more than three years after the date when facts material to the right of action are known or should have been known by the official of the United States charged with responsibility to act in the circumstances, but in no event more than 10 years after the date on which the violation is committed, whichever occurs last.
On January 14, 2019, Intermountain Healthcare, Inc. and Intermountain Medical Center (Intermountain) filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. Intermountain’s petition comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reversed a district court’s grant of Intermountain’s motion to dismiss. In relevant part, the district court concluded that the relator failed to identify any company employees with knowledge of the alleged fraud or when any employees knew about the fraud. The Tenth Circuit reversed, holding that the relator need not allege those facts because they were in the defendant’s exclusive control and that allegations of knowledge need only be pleaded generally.
Intermountain’s petition raises two questions:
- Can a plaintiff avoid Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b)’s pleading requirements by asserting that only the defendant possesses the information needed to meet those requirements?
- Do the False Claims Act’s (FCA) qui tam provisions violate the Appointments Clause of Article II of the U.S. Constitution?
Both questions have previously appeared in petitions for writ of certiorari, but neither question has been addressed by the Supreme Court. See, e.g., Petition for Writ of Certiorari, U.S. ex rel. Joshi v. St. Luke’s Hospital, Inc. (denied Oct. 2, 2006); Petition for Writ of Certiorari, GPM Gas Corp. et al. v. U.S. ex rel. Grynberg (denied Apr. 22, 2002).Continue Reading Supreme Court Asked to Review Pleading Standard and Constitutionality of FCA