Hoyer Law Group’s case U.S. ex rel. Owsley v. Fazzi Associates Inc. et al, is one of three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning a long-time circuit split. The Supreme Court recently indicated an interest in resolving the split, which has repeatedly tormented both whistleblowers and False Claims Act attorneys alike. How the Court resolves the split will have long-lasting consequences on future False Claims Act decisions. The issue has therefore generated a frenzy as to how the Court should proceed.
The split in question concerns Rule 9(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which requires that whistleblowers allege fraud with “particularity” by naming specific instances of fraudulent billing. Advocates of requiring specific examples of fraudulent claims contend that the rule prevents whistleblowers from bringing unfounded qui tam actions based on mere suspicions of wrongdoing. By contrast, those against the “particularity” requirement argue that many whistleblowers cannot access specific billing information and that the requirement exists as a way for companies to thwart cases concerning their improper billing practices. They argue that this requirement deters future whistleblowers from coming forward to report fraud and other misconduct.
Because of the controversy surrounding the split, several parties have written briefs intending to encourage or deter the Justices from upholding the requirement. Hoyer Law Group whistleblower Cathy Owsley filed a reply brief advising that the court considers the petitions together and grants certiorari (judicial review) in the case it deems to be the “superior vehicle.”
Relatedly in Molina Healthcare of Illinois Inc. et al. v. Thomas Prose, another Supreme Court case, whistleblower Thomas Prose urged the Justices to turn away a similar 9(b) review petition from Molina. According to Prose, the review is unnecessary because his case meets any reasonableness standard for applying the rule that specific claims are not essential to the alleged fraud. Therefore the rule does not require him to include them.
The Court has made it clear that it intends to resolve the split and now needs to decide which case it deems the best vehicle to do so.
Here at Hoyer Law Group, PLLC, we are committed to fighting for the success of our clients. Do not hesitate to call or contact us online if you believe you have a possible whistleblower claim.