Original Source Rule

whistlesUnder the “original source” rule, a whistleblower lawsuit brought under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act based on facts that have already been publicly disclosed may still be pursued if the whistleblower is the original source of the publicly disclosed information.

Here are some of the more recent court decisions on the scope and reach of the original source rule.

February 10, 2016

Third Circuit Opens Door Wider For Whistleblowers Under Original Source Exception To False Claims Act Publish Disclosure Bar

By Gordon Schnell

Under the False Claims Act, the public disclosure bar prevents whistleblower suits challenging fraud already disclosed through certain public channels like the news media.  The rule is designed to discourage whistleblower actions based on information already in the public domain, unless it was the whistleblower that actually put it there.  It is supposed to neatly balance the twin-goals of discouraging so-called “parasitic” lawsuits and encouraging whistleblower suits based on true inside or independent knowledge.  With last week’s United States ex rel. Moore & Company v. Majestic Blue Fisheries decision, the Third Circuit made a strong statement of the types of cases it sees on the right side of this sharp divide.
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October 30, 2014

Third Circuit Rejects Qui Tam Lawsuit On Original Source Requirement

By Jason Enzler

When a False Claims Act lawsuit is brought by a qui tam relator that alleges a fraudulent scheme, and those allegations have already been publicly disclosed, that is often the end of the matter.  Case dismissed.  Under some circumstances, however, the relator can keep his case alive by showing that he is the “original source” of the publicly disclosed information.  To do so, the relator must show he has “direct and independent knowledge of the information on which the allegations are based.”
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