When most people think of the available tools in the fight against public corruption, they think of the criminal laws and courts, or the oversight provided by government watchdog agencies. The False Claims Act (or FCA) provides another way in which public integrity can be enhanced, and it is a tool that has many advantages. First, the FCA is a civil statute, which means that as compared to criminal litigation, the FCA requires a lower burden of proof, and carries the possibility of a high damages award. Second, the False Claims Act permits citizen watchdogs to bring claims that the government can join, meaning that they are often less resource-intensive.
The purpose of this article is to explain fundamental False Claims Act concepts to enable the uninitiated practitioner to get to the starting line of filing an FCA case. I will describe the Act, generally explain the process of initiating a case, and provide some practitioner tips – for both government lawyers and those representing citizens bringing claims. The purpose of this article is not to provide an explanation of nuanced areas of the False Claims Act law nor to lay out all of the myriad theories under which an FCA case can be brought, but rather to assist practitioners with basic concepts and to supply some strategies for bringing FCA cases.
The False Claims Act: A Useful Tool in the Fight Against Public Corruption,
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/public_integrity/116