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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court Restricts Whistleblower Lawsuits

High court restricts whistleblower lawsuits
The Associated Press - March 30, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday placed limits on existing whistleblower lawsuits alleging local governments misused federal money, in a decision that produced newcomer Sonia Sotomayor's first dissenting opinion. But the just-enacted health care overhaul law contains a provision that changed the federal False Claims Act in a way that would appear to allow new, similar lawsuits to go forward. The court voted 7-2 to hold that a technical, though important aspect, of the federal whistleblower law applies to local governments. One section of the law prohibits whistleblower lawsuits when public disclosure of the alleged fraud occurs through a court hearing, a news report or congressional or administrative audit. In an opinion by Justice John Paul Stevens, the court ruled that the language on administrative audits refers to a report prepared by any government, not just a federal government document. The question had divided federal appeals courts. Justice Sotomayor dissented, saying her colleagues "misread the statutory text" to limit whistleblower claims. Justice Stephen Breyer joined the dissenting opinion. But, in any event, the health care legislation signed by President Barack Obama last week changed the false claims law so that it now refers specifically to federal reports. Stevens noted the change in a footnote to his opinion, but said it did not affect pending lawsuits. Once allegations are disclosed publicly, often by the media, individuals face a higher hurdle in bringing fraud suits on the federal government's behalf. Otherwise, people could read a newspaper account or an indictment and then rush to the courthouse to file suit. The issue arose in a lawsuit alleging fraud on the part of the Graham County Soil and Water Conservation District in western North Carolina in the use of federal disaster assistance following a damaging storm in 1995. The False Claims Act allows a whistleblower to collect up to 30 percent of a judgment against a party found liable. Since Congress reinvigorated the Civil War-era law in 1986, those suits have returned more than $16 billion to the government The case is Graham County Soil and Water Conservation District v. U.S., 08-304.


in the know said...

Only corrupt folks are against whistleblowers!!!

Anonymous said...

We the citizens of New York State ask for our useless agencies to be investigated and shut down for their uselessness and cover up scheme to defraud the citizens of New York State & the New York State Court System.
We also ask for a "Federal Monitor and hotline where the citizens may contact a federal entity to present evidence and allegations of violations of federal laws within and about the New York State Police and Court System."

limiting Whistleblower lawsuits only allows the corrupt and the gov't to falsely account or prosecute anyone without any accountability, especially if you have enough money to payoff anyone to cover it up!

Anonymous said...

we don't need no stinking whistleblowers, besides folks would begin to figure things out!!!

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2