Adam Feinberg Discusses ACLU Suit to Repeal Secrecy Provisions of False Claims Act in Law360

"ACLU Suit Threatens Whistleblower Secrecy"
09.23.10Adam Feinberg comments on the ACLU's challenge to whistleblower secrecy provisions in the False Claims Act (FCA), which maintains that the mandatory 60-day seal hides allegations concerning the fraudulent use of taxpayer funds and dangers to public health. Feinberg said that while exceptions exist, the overwhelming majority of FCA cases do not involve situations where public safety is jeopardized by a prolonged seal period. Moreover, even when the mandatory 60-day period is extended, the court does more than merely rubber stamp the request but weighs the merits of continued secrecy, issuing an extension when the DOJ's investigation warrants it, Feinberg said. Although the secret investigations forestall public awareness and accommodate settlements between the relator, the government and the accused company, Feinberg noted that litigation generally functions to resolve disputes, not open them up to outside interests. "It seems that the ACLU is trying to get at an easy mechanism for identifying information and exposing fraud cases," Feinberg said. "It's a novel challenge but it doesn’t really address the legislative intent behind the seal provisions or the many factors that motivate extended fraud investigations."
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