Supreme Court Rules Whistleblowers Can Not Rely on FOIA in False Claims Act Cases


On May 16th, the Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision, held that a whistleblower?s complaint under the False Claims Act (FCA) cannot be based upon information obtained from a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The False Claims Act prohibits the submission of false or fraudulent claims for payment to the United States. The statute allows lawsuits to be brought not only by the government, but also by private party qui tam whistleblowers who sue in the name of the government and are eligible to receive a percent of the money recovered in a successful suit. The False Claims Act has recovered billions of dollars into the federal fisc. In fiscal 2010 alone, the government recovered $3 billion in civil settlements and judgments. Whistleblowers, during this same time period, received $385 million.

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