In United States v. Catholic Healthcare West, the Ninth Circuit held that when information leading to a False Claims Act ("FCA") suit is obtained from a Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") request, that suit is not necessarily barred for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The FCA contains a jurisdictional bar prohibiting suits based on publicly disclosed information from certain enumerated sources. The Ninth Circuit disagreed with the Third Circuit and found that information obtained from an FOIA request does not necessarily bar a FCA claim. The court found that the inquiry should not be whether the FOIA response qualifies as a publicly disclosed enumerated source, but whether the information obtained from the FOIA request that is the basis for the fraud allegations came from a publicly disclosed enumerated source. This holding requires a case-by-case analysis and is based largely on the policy considerations underlying the FCA.
Uncovering Fraud Against the Government by Way of Freedom of Information Act Requests: United States v. Catholic Healthcare West, 37 Golden Gate U. L. Rev.