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August 18, 2020

On Appeal, Justice Dept. Prevails In Bid To Dismiss Pharma Fraud Case

A federal appeals court ordered the dismissal of a whistleblower lawsuit alleging fraud against the government, ruling that a judge had improperly refused to toss the case at the U.S. Justice Department’s (DOJ) request, according to a report in Law.com.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found that the DOJ was “not close” to overstepping its authority when it asked for the dismissal of a whistleblower lawsuit, claiming that the drugmaker UCB Inc. had violated the False Claims Act (FCA).

The FCA allows whistleblowers to bring lawsuits in the name of the government and receive a portion of any money recovered, while also allowing DOJ to intervene and take charge of the cases. The FCA also provides the DOJ with the ability to go to court and ask for the dismissal of whistleblowers’ cases.

The DOJ moved in December 2018 to dismiss the case against UCB, came months after the release of a memo outlining when the government should exercise its rarely-used authority to toss whistleblower lawsuits when they consider them “meritless” or “parasitic”. 

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