On April 28, both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives took steps that would provide sweeping changes to the federal False Claims Act (“FCA”). The bills would significantly expand the scope of FCA liability while at the same time make it easier for qui tam relators to bring and maintain FCA suits on behalf of the government.
In short, the bills are answers to a DOJ and relator’s counsel “wish list” that would eliminate 20 years of hard-fought defense jurisprudence. In addition, the House bill, for example, would eliminate the public disclosure jurisdictional bar and defense, which could allow a sworn federal agent to utilize information obtained in the course of official investigations to file FCA lawsuits as a relator, and to receive a portion of any financial recovery. The House bill would also eliminate any basic pleading standards by relators and allow relators’ attorneys to file fishing expeditions without any substantive basis of allegation.
For additional information, please see Reed Smith’s full alert.