The Justice Department urged its lawyers to weed out merit less cases from the hundreds of suits brought on its behalf under an anti-fraud law called the False Claims Act.
Justice Department attorneys should consider using a provision in the False Claims Act that lets the department ask a judge to dismiss claims, even if the whistleblower who brought the case wants to go ahead, according to an internal memo dated Jan. 10 from Michael D. Granston, director of the commercial litigation branch of the Civil Division.
“This is good both for the government and it’s good for private industry,” said Mitch Ettinger, a white-collar defense lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
Under the law, private individuals who think they found fraud against the government can sue on the U.S.’ behalf, sharing in whatever money is collected. The Justice Department investigates and decides whether to intervene in the case, taking over from the whistleblower, known as a relator. Even if the department decides not to intervene, the relator generally can pursue the case.