The First Circuit Court of Appeals Rules that State Wrongful Discharge Lawsuit triggers Public Disclosure Bar under the False Claims Act

On September 8, 2010, the First Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a false claims act case by invoking the public disclosure bar.  The court held that a complaint for wrongful discharge under state law triggers the public disclosure bar where the wrongful termination is based on the same set of operative facts as the qui tam action. The public disclosure bar prohibits false claims act lawsuits when the facts supporting the lawsuit have ben publicly disclosed in other legislative, administrative or judicial proceedings.  The circuit court noted the limited applicability of the decision in light of recent amendments to the False Claims Act that only prohibits lawsuits based on disclosures only in federal proceedings in which the government or its agent is a party.

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