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January 10, 2019

Do the DOJ Qui Tam Dismissals Signal a Department Sea Change?

Legal Newsline reports in Forbes that the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) recent move to dismiss 11 whistleblower, or qui tam, lawsuits under the False Claims Act may be a shift towards an administration strategy to “rein in trial lawyers who are using a federal whistleblower law to seek millions of dollars.”

The DOJ recently asked courts to dismiss the cases after offcials say they wasted 1,500 hours to learn the cases were brought by shell companies created to file whistleblower suits. The move was a major implementation of last January’s Granston memo, which instructed U.S. Attorneys to seek dismissal of “meritless” and “parasitic” whistleblower lawsuits. But the article points to a number of other cases where DOJ declined to intervene, which could show a shift in the way DOJ enforces the False Claims Act.

According to a recent report, DOJ took in $2.8 billion in these lawsuits last year, which is about half of what it took in during a record 2014.

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