The False Claims Act pays people to report fraud and other misdeeds against the federal government.  They do it by filing a lawsuit under seal in federal court and sending a copy to the Department of Justice. 

But the law excludes claims "based upon" information already in the public domain.  Courts lack jurisdiction to hear those qui tam claims unless the relator qualifies as the "original source" of the public information.

What "based upon" and "original source" mean has given courts trouble.  (See July 27 post re Seventh Circuit’s minority position; the Tenth Circuit stuck to the majority rule.)  Yesterday, the Tenth Circuit considered whether the jurisdictional bar applies to an entire complaint if it alleges any claim "based upon" public information.  The court held that including three bad claims doesn’t necessarily spoil the other seven.  And so it remanded the case for a fresh look at the seven remaining claims.  United States ex rel. Boothe v. Sun Healthcare Group, Inc., No. 06-2156 (10th Cir. Aug. 7, 2007).

Barry Barnett

Feedicon Our feed can relate to you.