Last month, in a closely watched case, the D.C. Circuit resolved a dispute about a rarely invoked bar to certain whistleblower actions brought under the False Claims Act. In U.S. ex rel. Vt. Nat’l Tel. Co. v. Northstar Wireless, LLC, 34 F.4th 29 (D.C. Cir. 2022), the D.C. Circuit reversed a district court’s decision that had held that the so-called “Government action bar” precluded a qui tam action involving allegations similar to those raised in an “administrative civil monetary penalty proceeding.” The D.C. Circuit pointed out that to the extent any penalties had been imposed, they were not imposed as part of the administrative proceeding at issue and therefore the bar did not apply.
Read Phillips & Cohen partner Claire Sylvia’s analysis in The Government Contractor, “Spotlight On Timing: The D.C. Circuit Tackles The False Claims Act’s Government Action Bar and Materiality Requirement.”