NDIA part of brief to Supreme Court on qui tam lawsuits

Supreme Court

ARLINGTON, VA -- The National Defense Industrial Association filed a “friend of the court,” or amicus curiae, brief that urges the Supreme Court to require staunch enforcement of a heightened pleading standard for certain types of qui tam suits.  

The amicus, filed Tuesday, March 7, asks the high court to consider a pending appeal that questions whether a False Claims Act relator can pursue a qui tam suit without alleging specific details about any one false claim.

The amicus brief also asks the high court to reject the opinion of some federal courts of appeals that there should be a more relaxed interpretation of “particularity” for qui tam lawsuits.

The Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b) mandates that any plaintiff, including qui tam relators, who allege fraud must state with specific detail the circumstances that constitute that fraud.     

Qui tam lawsuits are a type of whistleblower lawsuit under the False Claims Act, a law that rewards whistleblowers in successful cases where the government recovers funds lost to fraud. NDIA joined with the Coalition for Government Procurement and the Professional Services Council in filing the brief. 

The brief, in Medical Device Business Services Inc. v. United States ex rel. Nargol, No. 17-1108, calls Rule 9(b) “a crucial safeguard against vague, generalized or speculative qui tam suits.” For this reason, the brief asserts, “a qui tam suit which fails to satisfy Rule 9(b) should be dismissed at the threshold ... Any lax interpretation of Rule 9(b) … would frustrate the purpose of the rule. That, in turn, would impair the operation of the federal procurement system.” 

Lawrence Ebner of Capital Appellate Advocacy PLLC authored the brief on behalf of the associations.

For questions and more information, contact Evamarie Socha, esocha@ndia.org or (703) 247-2579.

About NDIA

The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is America's leading defense industry association promoting national security. NDIA provides a legal and ethical forum for the exchange of information between industry and government on national security issues. NDIA and its members foster the development of the most innovative and superior equipment, training, and support for warfighters and first responders through its divisions, local chapters, affiliated associations, and events. For more information, visit NDIA.org