FALSE CLAIMS ACT:  Eleventh Circuit Confirms That the Government Easily Can Settle and Dismiss Non-Intervened Qui Tam Cases, While a District Court Questions the Government’s Right to File Statements of Interest

By: Douglas W. Baruch, John T. Boese, Jennifer M. Wollenberg, Kayla Stachniak Kaplan

A pair of recent rulings by the Eleventh Circuit and a Florida district court take aim at the Government's practices in non-intervened False Claims Act (“FCA”) qui tam cases, with mixed results.  On the one hand, in the more noteworthy decision, the appellate court strongly reinforced the Government's settlement and dismissal authority in non-intervened cases and the limited scope of judicial review over decisions made pursuant to such authority.  But, in the district court action, a federal judge pointedly rejected the Justice Department's common practice – particularly post-Escobar – of filing “Statements of Interest” in relator-conducted litigation.  These decisions place into sharp focus the competing interests of relators and the Government, which remains the real party in interest in FCA qui tam litigation.

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