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The number of lawsuits brought under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. § 3729 et seq., continues to increase. In 2015 alone, relators filed over 600 qui tam complaints — and courts awarded over $3.5 billion — under the FCA. In these cases, the United States government is the real party in interest, while individual relators (also known as “whistleblowers”) may bring a complaint on behalf of the government. Accompanying this growth are significant FCA decisions including, most recently, Universal Health Services, Inc., v. United States, ex rel.Escobar, 579 U.S. __ (2016), decided in June 2016. In Escobar, the U.S. Supreme Court: 1) examined the materiality requirement of the FCA; and 2) approved “implied” false certification as the basis for the FCA claim. Other important decisions continue to make their way through the courts.
By Jonathan S. Feld, Eric Klein and Andrew VanEgmond
The FCA is not a model of clarity. In a certiorari petition in United States ex rel. Hunt v. Cochise Consultancy, the U.S. Supreme Court will address an area of uncertainty that has led to a three-way circuit split regarding the FCA’s statute of limitations. Depending on the outcome, FCA defendants could end up facing even more claims up to a decade old or, alternatively, have a new limitation on FCA actions upon which to rely.
By Michael L. Cook
In Stoebner v. Opportunity Finance, LLC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that “… Ponzi scheme payments to satisfy legitimate antecedent debts to defendant banks could not be avoided” by a bankruptcy trustee “absent transaction-specific proof of actual intent to defraud or the statutory elements of constructive fraud — transfer by an insolvent debtor who did not receive reasonably equivalent value in exchange.”
By Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge and Amanda W. Newton
Rare Supreme Court holiday activity and ongoing news coverage about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has drawn much attention to the enigmatic case of In Re Grand Jury Subpoena. The matter is unremarkable, presenting familiar issues of international litigation. Upon further examination, however, the case may have the potential to expand the authority of United States courts over foreign states and their agencies or instrumentalities.
By Colleen Snow
New Charges in Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited Bribery Case