9. Whistleblower/False Claims Act – Public Disclosure Bar

If the information contained in your FCA case has already been “publicly disclosed,” your case may be dismissed.

The whole idea underpinning the qui tam reward provisions of the FCA is that the whistleblower/relator is providing the government with new information that would have otherwise never been heard about. The reason for the reward is for the government to learn about something it didn’t know. Because of this reasoning, the FCA contains what is known as the “Public Disclosure Bar.” It goes like this:

Unless opposed by the government or unless the relator is an “original source,” the court shall dismiss if substantially the same allegations or transactions were alleged

  • in a Federal criminal, civil or administrative hearing in which the Government or its
    agent is a party;
  • in a congressional, Government Accountability Office, or other Federal report, hearing,
    audit, or investigation; or
  • from the news media.