This week Peter Hutt, partner at Covington & Burling LLP, joins Off the Shelf for an in-depth discussion of the False Claims Act, including the basics of the law and its impact in the government contracts market.
Hutt lays out the history of the law, including liability standards, potential damages and penalties, and the role of qui tam plaintiffs/relators.
Each year DOJ releases key statistics on the FCA and Hutt highlights key trends in enforcement activity found in the data. Over the last year there has been an increase in activity but a reduction in recoveries. Hutt notes the types of cases he is seeing and the current priorities of the DOJ.
Durin g the interview, Hutt also analyzes two recent Supreme Court cases: U.S. ex rel Schutte V. Supervalu (Supervalu) and U.S. ex rel Polansky v Executive Health Resources (Polansky). Supervalu is significant, holding that the scienter standard refers to a defendant’s contemporaneous knowledge and subjective beliefs, not what an objectively reasonable person may have believed. Polansky addresses the timing and ability of DOJ to intervene in a qui tam and then seek dismissal.
Hutt unpacks both decisions, providing clear, concise analysis on what contractors need to know and what the decisions mean for the future.