• Qui Tam Actions: Less Judicial Oversight, More DOJ Power
  • March 26, 2012 | Authors: Brett S. Covington; David R. Moffitt
  • Law Firms: Saul Ewing LLP - Washington Office ; Saul Ewing LLP - Wayne Office
  • The tension between qui tam relators and the United States Department of Justice is highlighted in United States v. Oce N.V., a case currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The Court of Appeals will decide whether the Department of Justice (“DOJ” or “Department”) can settle qui tam actions over the objections of a relator without the court reviewing the reasonableness of the settlement agreement. At first blush, the DOJ’s position appears contrary to the express provisions of section 3730(c)(2)(B) of the False Claims Act (“FCA”), which requires the district court to hold a hearing to determine whether the settlement is “fair, adequate, and reasonable under all the circumstances.” However, when the case was before the district court, the court held that the FCA’s requirement of judicial review of a settlement agreement could not be enforced, in light of other provisions in the FCA allowing the DOJ to dismiss qui tam actions without judicial review. Without actually ruling on the issue, the court also questioned the constitutionality of section 3730(c)(2)(B). Specifically, the court suggested that the FCA’s requirement of judicial review of settlement agreements would violate the separation of powers doctrine. Oce, 681 F.Supp. 2d 64 (D.D.C. 2010).