Last week, the Eleventh Circuit issued an opinion holding that a Relator bringing an FCA claim premised on an AKS violation – at least when relating to lease arrangements – must show that the financial arrangements were not at fair market value. See Bingham v. HCA, Inc., Case No. 1:13-cv-23671 (11th Cir. 2019). Significantly, this ruling provides that proving fair market value (or lack thereof) is not a burden imposed solely on defendants as part of a safe harbor defense, but is instead an essential element to establishing the existence of remuneration in the first instance. In the same opinion, the court also held that a Relator cannot rely upon information gleaned in discovery to satisfy Rule 9(b)’s pleading requirements.
A recent decision from the District of Minnesota denied the government’s appeal of a federal magistrate judge’s order requiring that, as part of discovery, the government detail specific false claims and turn over notes and reports of witness interviews. The underlying case is a qui tam alleging that Precisions Lens and its founder provided kickbacks to physicians to induce the use of its eye surgery products.