The False Claims Act: The Best Jurisdictions For Fraud Cases
There are 94 judicial districts in the United States (including the territories) and each of these 94 districts has a United States Attorney’s Office. These offices are primarily responsible for investigating fraud that is alleged in FCA complaints. The truth is, there simply are some districts that have a better track record and are more experienced in prosecuting civil fraud. Statistics show that the District of Maryland, where the Healthcare Fraud Law Group is located, has an outstanding record investigating and successfully resolving fraud cases. While the Healthcare Fraud Law Group represents relators in healthcare fraud cases nationwide, knowing that the best and most effective government prosecutors are right in our backyard is an important factor in our decisions about where to file cases. “Know before you go” and research the track record of the United States Attorney’s Office before you file your False Claims Act case.
Data covering a two year period ending in 2015 (the last date when a complete listing of settlements is available) shows that Maryland is one of the top four offices in the country on two key criteria: the sheer number of cases resolved; and the total amount recovered. During that period, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland (located in Baltimore) settled a total of ten cases, with a total settlement value of $389,250,000. The only office that exceeded Maryland was the United States District for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (located in Philadelphia), which successfully prosecuted 11 cases, bringing in a total of $527,296,224. Other jurisdictions with notable settlements include the Middle District of Florida, which resolved 23 cases, for a total of $292,050,316; the Northern District of Georgia, with a total of seven cases resolved for a total of $373,669,000; and the District of Columbia, which resolved 11 cases for a total of $109,180,000.
You should also discuss with your attorneys how the office in the jurisdiction where you may file stacks up in terms of how receptive they are to whistleblowers. For example, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida made it known in the relator’s bar (attorneys who represent whistleblowers) that they are “open for business” and then made good on that promise by settling 23 whistleblower cases in a two year period, a record number. By contrast, the Middle District of Tennessee has made similar claims of being “open for business” but has a mediocre record, having a total of eight cases during the same period, for a total of a little over $46 million contrasted to Florida’s recovery of $292 million. The Middle District of Tennessee is not, in my personal experience, always relator-friendly. There are other districts that simply are not on the map, such as the Middle District of Georgia, which had zero settlements during the period reviewed, and has taken positions that are adverse to relators in relator share disputes in the sole settlement that has occurred in that district since 2015 (Full disclosure Ms. Bennett of the Healthcare Fraud Law Group was counsel in that case). All of these factors, the district’s track record, whether it is truly relator friendly or not, and its position on relator share issues, are facts you should know before you file.
The bottom line is that it is important to look at the track record of the district where you file. A jurisdiction that has a number of high-profile settlements under its belt is more likely to have the kind of expertise and drive that will help your case succeed.