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Article Quotes Aaron Silberman re Supreme Court Decision on Consequences of Relators’ Violations of the Federal False Claims Act Seal Provision


RJO government contracts attorney Aaron Silberman, was quoted in the Federal Contracts Report (FCR) for December 13, 2016, in an article titled “State Farm Can’t Dodge Katrina Lawsuit Based on Seal Violation” (106 FCR, 12/13/16). The article reports on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in State Farm Fire & Casualty v. U.S., ex rel. Rigsby, which affirmed the Fifth Circuit’s decision that dismissal of a qui tam lawsuit is not required where a relator/whistleblower plaintiff fails to adhere to the FCA requirement that those types of lawsuits be filed under seal and not be served on the defendants until the trial court orders the seal lifted. The Court held that the District Courts have discretion over the appropriate penalty, if any, for such violations. Mr. Silberman identified one potentially useful portion of the opinion for defendants. In the Court’s rejection of arguments that dismissals are necessary when seal violations damage reputations, “The court stated that dismissal remains a possible remedy, within the trial court’s discretion, as do lesser sanctions. … Implicit in this response is that district courts may consider potential reputational harm to defendants in deciding how to sanction relators who violate the seal, up to and including dismissal. This was not always clear under prior lower court decisions regarding seal violations.” Article

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