South Carolina District Judge puts DOJ on notice regarding qui tam extensions

by Ben Vernia | December 1st, 2013

On November 18, South Carolina District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr., issued an order in all False Claims Act cases pending on his docket, bemoaning numerous extensions of the qui tam seal deadline for the purpose of discovery or settlement discussions. In two cases, Judge Anderson noted, he granted the government eight extensions of the deadline. In one such case, he wrote that “the government repeatedly represented 2 that extensions were necessary because the case was very close to settlement. That case has not settled and the government declined to intervene.”

Judge Anderson cited the legislative history of the Act for the principle that the False Claims Act’s initial 60-day seal period should be sufficient, and wrote that he issued the order:

to provide notice to the government that, henceforth, the court will no longer consider informal discovery and/or settlement negotiations as sufficient grounds for extending the seal period. Rather, the court will determine, as commanded by the statute, whether the government has shown “good cause” for extending the seal period.

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