On June 16, 2023, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in United States ex rel. Polansky v. Executive Health Resources, affirming that courts should grant DOJ motions to dismiss over relator objections “in all but the most exceptional cases.” Prior coverage of this case is here and here.
On December 6, 2022, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in United States ex rel. Polansky v. Executive Health Resources, which presents the question of whether the government has the authority to dismiss a qui tam suit after initially declining to intervene, and if so, what standard of review applies to the government’s motion to dismiss. Overall, the lines of questioning suggest that the Court will conclude that the government may dismiss qui tam suits after initially declining to intervene. However, there was no clear consensus around how to define a judicially enforceable standard for evaluating the government’s dismissal authority.
Yesterday the Supreme Court denied cert in a trio of cases seeking clarification as to the pleading standard required in FCA cases under Rule 9(b). The petitioners urged the Court to remedy what they characterized as a circuit split over how much detail whistleblowers and the government must supply about alleged false claims in order to survive a motion to dismiss. As discussed further here, the Solicitor General opposed these cert petitions and argued that the circuits have “largely converged” in their application of Rule 9(b) to FCA complaints.
On June 21, 2022, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to resolve a Circuit split on the standard for evaluating the government’s authority to dismiss a qui tam over the relator’s objection. As we have previously written (see here and here), various Circuits have adopted different standards. The Supreme Court has agreed to review a decision of the Third Circuit affirming a district court’s grant of the United States’ motion to dismiss a qui tam. (more…)
There has been growing variation among courts of appeal over the appropriate pleading standard to apply under Rule 9(b) to the element of presentment, i.e., the requirement that plaintiffs plead with particularity the submission of a false claim to the government for payment. This topic has been the subject of repeated Supreme Court cert petitions (as discussed further here), and the topic has been raised yet again in a cert petition filed late last year in Johnson v. Bethany Hospice and Palliative Care, LLC (No. 21-462) (lower court opinion discussed here). The relator in Bethany Hospice, whose case was dismissed by the Eleventh Circuit for “rely[ing] on mathematical probability to conclude that a defendant surely must have submitted a false claim at some point”, seeks Supreme Court review of this “longstanding circuit split.” (more…)
On May 21, 2021, the Department of Justice filed a brief in opposition to a petition for writ of certiorari filed by the relator in U.S. ex rel. Cimznhca, LLC v. UCB, Inc. The petition challenges the Seventh Circuit’s decision reversing the district court’s denial of the government’s motion to dismiss over the relator’s objection. In reversing, the Seventh Circuit determined that, so long as relators have an opportunity to be heard under 31 U.S.C. § 3730(c)(2)(A), the government may dismiss qui tams when it satisfies the standard contained in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(i). That rule provides that a plaintiff may dismiss an action by serving notice of dismissal any time before the opposing party serves either an answer or a motion for summary judgment.