False Claims Act cases can be confusing, especially when they involve state or local governments. Every state has its own False Claims Act, each of which requires different procedures and applies to different situations.
For help understanding how local laws impact False Claims Act cases, you should consult with a dedicated FCA attorney. After analyzing your case, they could provide advice about any laws and regulations that apply to your situation. Call today to schedule a consultation.
Who Is Allowed to Bring a False Claims Act Case in DC?
Local laws are typically pretty broad as to who can bring a False Claims Act case. The issue, really, is who knows about the fraudulent activity. A person has to have really solid information about fraudulent activity in order to bring a strong case.
The only people who are specifically not allowed to bring cases are members of the military reporting on their own military service. However, if a member of the military knew about a state False Claims Act issue, they would be allowed to bring a state False Claims Act case.
In some jurisdictions, there is some difficulty with respect to federal government employees being able to bring Federal False Claims Act cases. However, there are other jurisdictions that allow federal government employees to bring False Claims Act cases under certain circumstances. This issue requires a discussion with an attorney to make sure the procedures are followed, but it is possible to do. In general, the rules are pretty broad as to who can bring a case.
How Local Laws Impact a Case
Depending on the type of qui tam case, local laws may have an impact. For example, if a healthcare provider is not licensed by an appropriate state agency and therefore operating illegally, or if state laws require a certain kind of healthcare provider to provide a service, that could potentially be the basis of a False Claims Act case.
When they bill Medicare, it implies that some level of the regulations of the state licensing apparatus is fulfilled. If the state says, “Only this level of healthcare provider can prescribe this drug,” and it turns out they know they were being prescribed by somebody else entirely, that could be the basis of a False Claims Act case.
State law does have a role to play even with respect to federal claims. Having said that, there are also many state False Claims Acts. Those laws are to protect the interest of the state government, and in some cases local government.
States With Laws That Allow a Suit For Any Kind of Fraud That Damages The State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
States With Laws That Allow For a Suit Only If Their Health Care Funds Have Been Lost
DC False Claims Act
The DC False Claims Act is one of the best in the country, and it has a couple of provisions in it that are particularly nice. There is something called an inadvertent false claim under the DC law which allows someone to be subject to the DC False Claims act if they inadvertently ripped off the DC government, discovered it later, should have known about it, and then did or did not report it. The DC government itself also has a provision for a False Claims Act, and people there can sue under that law.
Health Care Fraud Versus Other False Claims Act Claims
The major difference between the qui tam laws in various states is that some states’ False Claims Acts were enacted specifically to deal with healthcare or Medicaid fraud, so they limit the types of cases you can bring under those statutes to Medicaid or healthcare-related claims. In those states, unless you’re talking about Medicaid or nursing homes or anything that would be paid for under that statute specifically, you don’t have a right of action. Healthcare is a big industry, but it’s not as all-encompassing as a state that allows for a case of any kind of fraud committed against that state to be prosecuted under the State False Claims Act, so that’s a major dividing line.
There are some states that also allow you to sue on behalf of their cities, towns, and political subdivisions—for example, if the city itself has been defrauded with its money. In this way, there is an extra layer of possible action to bring a case under some of those state laws.
There are 29 states with these laws, which have been enacted over a period of years—10 or 15 years, for most of them—and there have been particular technical differences in each of them. There have not yet been many State False Claims Act cases brought in each individual state, which makes determining the state case law a little tricky. With 29 different False Claims Acts out there, though, I’m guessing we’re going to start seeing a lot more State False Claims Act cases filed.
Reach Out to an Experienced Whistleblower Attorney Today
If you have information about fraudulent activity against the government, you should consider speaking with a knowledgeable whistleblower lawyer. An attorney could explain how local laws impact False Claims Act suits and apply to your case. They could also serve as your advisor and representative during meetings with the government. Call today to learn more.