The whistleblower case, Graham County Soil & Water Conservation District v. United States ex rel. Wilson, 08-304 was granted certiorari by the Supreme Court.
This case has special implications for the business community, especially whistleblower lawsuits against drugmakers, and biotechnology companies. Several organizations such as National League of Cities, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, and the Washington Legal Foundation, filed amici curiae Briefs
The central players in this case include the Graham County water district from North Carolina and a former secretary at Graham County water district. The main argument in the case is whether the whistleblower can bring a qui tam case against the water district for allegedly fraudulently seeking federal money for storm cleanup, since the allegations are based on information made known in publicly available in state documents.
According to the Supreme Court Docket Report from Appellate.Net of the Mayer Brown Law Firm:
"The decision in Graham County will be especially significant to businesses that are subject to inspections and audits by state and local government agencies, because the results of those inspections and audits are frequently made available to the public, and thus to potential relators and their lawyers."
The Solicitor General, Elena Kagan and the United States asserts the following in the discussion of this case in the May 2009 Amicus Curiae Brief for Graham County Soil & Water Conservation District v. United States ex rel. Wilson, 08-304.
"The court of appeals correctly construed the second clause of the “public disclosure” bar contained in 31 U.S.C. 3730(e)(4)(A). The court’s decision, however,
deepens a pre-existing circuit conflict regarding whether state and local administrative audits and reports fall within the scope of the FCA’s “public disclosure” provision. This Court should grant the petition for a writ of certiorari to resolve the split among the circuits on an important legal issue affecting the federal courts’ jurisdiction over FCA qui tam actions."
Time will tell, which way the court will decide on this opinion. Will Big Business prevail or will the Courts render an opinion that is in favor or whistleblowers and bringing FCA fraudulent activity to light?
All eyes are on the Supreme Court. Stay Tuned....