DOJ Moves to Dismiss Just Under 4% of Whistleblower Filings
In a December 19, 2019, letter to Senator Chuck Grassley, the U.S. Department of Justice has provided detailed information on its expanding use of its authority under the False Claims Act to dismiss cases brought by qui tam relators in which it has declined to intervene. On January 10, 2018, Mike Granston, Director of the DOJ’s Civil Fraud Section, issued an internal memorandum encouraging DOJ lawyers to consider moving to dismiss these cases when necessary to protect certain government interests, such as agency policies that run counter to the qui tam action, national security concerns and, in cases lacking merit, preservation of scarce resources. Prior to January 2018, the DOJ had exercised this authority sparingly, moving to dismiss only 32 qui tam cases in 32 years. The DOJ explains that it has since exercised this authority in just 45 cases, which is less than 4% of filed qui tam actions in the last two years, with almost one-quarter of its motions to dismiss directed at ten cases filed by a corporate relator alleging violations of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act as a result of “white coat marketing” practices by pharmaceutical companies.