On remand in Graham Co. Soil & Water Conserv. Dist. case, the Fourth Circuit remands to District Court for factfinding

by Ben Vernia | October 7th, 2010

In an unpublished October 1 decision, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals remanded U.S. ex rel. Wilson v. Graham Co. Soil & Water Conserv. Dist. to the District Court for factfinding regarding whether the relator’s allegations had been disclosed in a state or local administrative proceeding. (The Supreme Court had returned the case to the Court of Appeals after disagreeing with the latter’s holding that the public disclosure bar of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3730(e)(4), applied to federal, and not state administrative hearings.)

The Court of Appeals noted that the Supreme Court had not disturbed its reasoning that the District Court had not made the required findings that the relator’s allegations were based upon the state proceedings, not that the allegations had been publicly disclosed. Remand was required to apply the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the public disclosure bar.

The case’s impact is likely to be limited to older cases, because the 2010 amendments to the Act of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. 111-148, limited public disclosures to federal proceedings in which the federal government is a party.

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