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General Counsel and In House Counsel Litigation Regulations

The Continuing Evolution of the False Claims Act

The number of lawsuits brought under the False Claims Act continues to increase. 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.

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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.

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