False Claims Act
Client and Industry Challenges
The U.S. False Claims Act (FCA) and similar acts in various states prohibit companies and individuals from defrauding the federal and state governments by knowingly presenting, or being party to a presentation of, a false claim for payment or approval. Violations of the FCA can result in a judgment for an amount of the losses sustained multiplied several times, as well as civil penalties. Often, “whistleblowers” who sue a company on behalf of the government, called a qui tam lawsuit, are awarded a percentage of the resources the government recovers. These incentives, along with recent statutory changes and circuit court decisions, are making these claims more difficult than ever to dismiss
Snell & Wilmer’s attorneys are experienced in handling False Claims Act matters at the state and federal level, and have been involved in historically significant FCA litigation. We have defended clients in FCA investigations and lawsuits brought directly by the Department of Justice, as well as by individuals acting on the government's behalf. We also advise clients on the many legal issues that often accompany FCA matters, including directed or voluntary disclosures, internal investigations, audits, suspension and debarment proceedings, white-collar defense, civil and criminal subpoenas, employment and retaliation claims, and the shareholder derivative suits that sometimes follow an FCA settlement.
Clients We Serve
Because the False Claims Act applies to all types of goods, services and government contracts, our clients represent virtually every industry and business sector, including defense contracting, healthcare, education, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and financial services. Our clients range from small privately held businesses to Fortune 500 companies. We also represent individual defendants when separate counsel becomes necessary.
Why Clients Select Us
Dynamic Approach: In order to provide effective and efficient False Claims Act representation to our clients, we bring together attorneys with a wide range of skills and experience, including seasoned trial attorneys and attorneys with extensive regulatory and agency experience. Our team members practice in diverse yet complementary areas, including government relations, corporate, SEC regulatory, and labor and employment; when necessary, our attorneys can rely on the skills and experience of their colleagues to deliver tailored, comprehensive service for our clients.
Client-Focused Services: We understand the complexities of the government’s approach to False Claims Act matters, and know that our clients need creative and practical solutions for managing the challenges presented in FCA actions. Because we know that our clients value efficiency, our attorneys often leverage state-of-the-art document management services and budget management tools to handle matters in the most timely and cost-effective manner possible. We actively work with clients to develop compliance programs to address FCA issues and provide training to clients about handling FCA events. We also know that FCA whistleblower actions or investigations are often time sensitive, and we have a team ready to immediately address claims and investigations.
Our representative political and constitutional litigation matters include:
- Handled multiple voluntary disclosures to governmental agencies related to FCA and related allegations
- Performed numerous internal investigations for companies in response to allegations of possible FCA violations and provided counsel on appropriate responses
- Handled a case for a national for-profit education provider that included retaliation claims under the California FCA
- Represented a multinational banking and financial services holding company in a landmark case regarding FCA claims involving homeowners’ association dues and residential foreclosures
- Handled a private right of action case in arbitration involving a claim by a physician against a healthcare entity
- Served as co-counsel on an early, large and very influential qui tam case for a major for-profit education client that involved incentive compensation issues
- Assisted with a qui tam investigation under Nevada’s FCA
- Represented numerous financial institutions in actions alleging violations of FCA statutes
- Defended company employees in an FCA investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Fraud Section
- Defended a company in a FCA investigation by the Department of Interior, Office of Inspector General and United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California