Published: May 8, 2017

The SEC recently slapped two companies with sizeable fines for allegedly impeding potential whistleblowers from communicating with the agency in violation of Rule 21F-17. These fines, coupled with the SEC’s recent enforcement actions that we discussed here and here, signal that enforcement of Rule 21F-17 is a growing focus for the SEC.

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Published: March 31, 2017

A federal court recently ruled that an employee may use his employer’s confidential information in a whistleblower retaliation complaint, regardless of whether an employment confidentiality agreement prohibited him from doing so.

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Published: March 30, 2017

In United States ex rel. Hirt v. Walgreen Company, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently affirmed the dismissal of a pharmacy owner’s False Claims Act (“FCA”) lawsuit because he failed to plead his fraud claims with particularity. In so doing, the Court clarified a gray area in its prior case law: the Court instructed that FCA relators like this pharmacy owner are not entitled to a “relaxed” pleading standard.

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Published: February 22, 2017

The Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex., recently issued a memo outlining a plan to implement sweeping changes to a bill he introduced last year known as the Financial CHOICE Act. Hensarling’s five-page memorandum, titled “CHOICE Act 2.0 Changes,” outlines revisions to the draft legislation which could strip significant power from the SEC and sharply impact that agency’s Whistleblower Program.

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Published: February 15, 2017

In a decision issued yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed an appeal that would have addressed one of the most pressing unresolved issues in False Claims Act jurisprudence: whether relators in an FCA lawsuit can rely on “statistical sampling” to prove their case.

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Published: February 14, 2017

A jury recently found Bio-Rad Laboratories liable under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act for nearly $8 million in damages after the company’s alleged retaliatory firing of its former general counsel, Sanford Wadler.  The jury awarded Wadler $2.96 for past economic loss as a result of the termination and $5 million in punitive damages, after just three hours of deliberation.

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Published: February 10, 2017

​The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit recently called summary judgment “the put up or shut up moment in litigation.” On January 30, 2017, the relators in U.S. ex rel. Booker v. Pfizer – a long-running False Claims Act (“FCA”) case – were essentially told to “shut up,” when the Court upheld a grant of summary judgment for the defendants.

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Published: February 6, 2017

The Department of Justice recently announced that Jackson State University (“JSU”) will pay $1.17 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act (“FCA”) by mismanaging National Science Foundation (“NSF”) grants. According to the DOJ, the university submitted claims and expended funds under its NSF grants between June 2006 and September 2011, impliedly certifying that each claim was allowable and properly recorded.

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Published: February 1, 2017

The Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently allowed a fifteen-year old False Claims Act (“FCA”) qui tam action to proceed when it rejected a strict application of the statute of limitations and broadly construed the “relation back” doctrine.

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Published: January 25, 2017

On January 9, 2017, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in three cases concerning the issue of whether state student loan agencies and universities are protected by government immunity from False Claims Act (“FCA”) suits.  In denying certiorari, the Supreme Court opted not to create a unified test for government affiliation for purposes of the FCA.

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