DC whistleblower attorney Tony Munter summarizes the Nevada False Claims Act below and compares it to federal law. He is not licensed in the jurisdiction of Nevada.
The Nevada Submission of False Claims to State or Local Government (Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§357.010 et seq.) was enacted in 1999. After it was amended in 2013, it is one of the stronger such laws in the country.
Plaintiff-Relator Recovery and/or Damages
In a case where the Nevada Attorney General acts to intervene or take over the litigation, the individual filing the matter would receive anywhere from 15 to 33 percent of the amount recovered. In a Nevada False Claims Act case pursued by the plaintiff-relator without the support of the government, the Plaintiff can earn between 25 to 50 percent.
A state court action involving only Nevada claims is unlikely to see the type of underlying damages for the large amounts of money that federal False Claims Act cases generate. Having a generous reward for such cases makes sense in that individuals would have a great incentive to pursue the matters which otherwise may not be possible to litigate. In a nationwide scheme involving Nevada Medicaid cases, the relator share is likely to follow what is awarded by the Federal government.
Liability in Nevada
The Nevada False Claims Act allows for a case to be filed and liability to attach to virtually any kind of misrepresentation for any type of good or service involving Nevada funds. There is also liability for such actions when the funds come from a political subdivision of Nevada defined as “a county, city, assessment district or any other local government defined in NRS 354.474,” thereby effectively providing each such entity in the state with protections under this law.
Furthermore, any requirement for specific intent to defraud is eliminated by statute from all provisions of liability. The Nevada law creates liability not only for traditional false claims theories, such as presenting or causing a false claim to be presented to the State, but also for inadvertent submissions of a false claim after such falsity is discovered and the defendant fails to disclose such a falsity to the State within a reasonable period of time. While the Federal False Claims Act includes a provision for reverse false claims, the inadvertent submission and later discovery theory is not in the federal statute.
Similar to the amended federal law, the Nevada law also includes a provision that allows the State to object to—and therefore prevent the application of—the public disclosure bar to a case. This provision has not yet been used very often in federal cases, but might be in the future.
The public disclosure bar was originally intended to prevent plaintiff-relators from profiting when they provided information based on such public material and really added nothing or provided no real help to the government. Over the years, litigation became more technical as to what could constitute a public disclosure and had relatively little to do with how the plaintiff found the information and how helpful the plaintiff was to the government in providing it.
The Nevada False Claims Act doctrine will allow the government to limit application of the public disclosure bar to those instances in which a plaintiff is truly trying to profit off of public information, as opposed to bringing cases and finding some obscure reference to facts related to it in the public domain. The Nevada Law makes clear that the State has a strong way for private individuals to help the state recover against defendants who would take advantage of the Nevada government.