Qui Tam Actions 2019
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THIS CASEBOOK contains a selection of U. S. Court of Appeals decisions that analyze and discuss issues surrounding qui tam actions.
The FCA imposes significant penalties on any person who "knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval" to the Government or any person who "knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim." 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1)(A)-(B).
Rather than rely solely on federal enforcement of these provisions, Congress decided to deputize private individuals, encouraging them to come forward with claims on behalf of the Government in the form of qui tam suits. Qui tam provisions are not new to federal law, appearing as early as the first Congress. J. Randy Beck, The False Claims Act and the English Eradication of Qui Tam Legislation, 78 N.C. L. REV. 539, 554 n.54 (2000). In fact, the FCA and its qui tam provisions emerged "midway through the Civil War, in response to frauds perpetrated in connection with Union military procurement." Id. at 555.
Under the FCA's qui tam provisions, "a private party, called the relator, challenges fraudulent claims against the [G]overnment on the [G]overnment's behalf, ultimately sharing in any recovery." United States ex rel. Shea v. Cellco P'ship, 863 F.3d 923, 926 (D.C. Cir. 2017); see 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b). The relator may be awarded up to thirty percent of the proceeds ultimately recovered. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(d). Relators need not allege personal injury but instead sue "to remedy an injury in fact suffered by the United States." Vt. Agency of Nat. Res. v. United States ex rel. Stevens, 529 U.S. 765, 771, 120 S.Ct. 1858, 146 L.Ed.2d 836 (2000). The Government may intervene in any qui tam action, taking over from the relator, and, in that event, limiting the relator's share of the recovery to at most twenty-five percent. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(2), (d)(1).