GA False Claims Act Interview: Process

Tony Munter is NOT licensed in the jurisdiction of Georgia.
This is part two of a series where Tony Munter interviews Georgia False Claims Act attorney Jason Marcus. In this segment, the two of them discuss False Claims Act cases that may fall under both the federal and the Georgia state statutes.
Click here for Part 1

Tony:
Procedurally, this is a little tricky but claims under the Georgia Medicaid False Claims Act would easily fall within the jurisdiction of a court when filing a Federal False Claims Act case.  I don’t know if there would be a case that fits this description, but it sounds like it would be a little trickier under the general Georgia False Claims Act, because you would still need to go through the Attorney’s General to have the right to file the claim. Is that right or do you know how that plays out? Although I must say I’m not sure of what would fall into the category of that nationwide scheme that would also violate non-Medicaid claims.
Jason:
Yes, exactly. Yeah. And that was my reaction to it. I can’t think of one offhand, if someone was misusing state funds all over. It’s not something we’ve run into.
Tony:
Like, let’s say there was – if there was some sort of a highway fund thing that also defrauded the Georgia highway fund, maybe you would have to file two separate cases, a federal case and a Georgia State False Claims Act case.
Jason:
That is definitely uncharted territory. Medicaid cases obviously happen all the time. But we found that it just generally doesn’t happen very often where you have a case that’s both a federal case and a Taxpayer Protection Act case or multiple states.

What we generally have tried to do is get something ready and try to get permission before we file in the federal court. And get that all figured out before we file.

Now we’ve run into some obstacles in some cases and they recommended you file it in the federal court without the State Taxpayer Act Claim and then you go and get permission and you amend it. That’s how you get your case filed quickly and still have a chance to get that local Georgia case as well. But fortunately, it’s been rare where they haven’t acted quickly enough and we have been unable to simply file them together.

Tony:
That’s pretty wild. It does sound like you’re making use of this law while some states have straight-up Medicaid laws and they’re great to have. I don’t mean to knock them, but they mostly are following along with respect to the federal law. And if it involved a major Medicaid scheme one would likely file it as a federal action first. This sounds much more like a whole separate area for you to handle cases in Georgia, because of the scope of it. I mean it does sound like an additional line of cases that you can do. Is that fair to say?
Jason:
Absolutely. I want to say Georgia definitely benefits from having a Medicaid statute because of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
Tony:
Right.
Jason:
When they first started it was a one-person team and they mostly took a backseat and let the federal investigators do their thing. We always file our Medicaid cases in federal court. But now we’re seeing more than ever certain cases that state investigators are running cases. So it’s a wonderful resource for us to have, especially in the Northern District of Georgia where they just have too much to do. So having kind of a second team has been wonderful.

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