Third Circuit declines to give retroactive effect to amendments to antiretaliation provision of False Claims Act

by Ben Vernia | September 15th, 2010

On September 14, the Third Circuit issued a decision in Lytle v Capital Area Intermediate Unit, a case alleging unlawful retaliation under the False Claims Act. The plaintiffs were contractors of a company responsible for the transportation of special education students. The district court dismissed their case on the grounds that they were not employees, as required under the former version of 31 USC 3730(h). The court found that there was sufficient evidence that the plaintiffs were independent contractors, not employees. It also rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009, which amended 3730(h) to include contractors, applied to the case. FERA was clear, the court reasoned, that the antiretaliation amendments applied prospectively, notwithstanding the statements of one Representative, which the court concluded were directed at changes to section 3729, not 3730(h).

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