Publication Date

Winter 2006

Document Type





Published in the Liberty University Law Review, 1:1, 2006, 1-45.


The False Claims Act (FCA) is the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) primary litigative tool to combat fraud under federal government programs, including as Medicare and the military. The FCA provides for triple damages and civil penalties. It also contains a unique qui tam provision, which allows a whistleblower, known as a “relator,” to file a FCA lawsuit on behalf of the government and receive a share of 15-25% in the recovery. The DOJ has recovered $20 billion under the FCA from companies cheating the government, and has paid out over $2 billion in citizen rewards. The FCA contains a “public disclosure bar,” which is triggered when the fraud allegations were in the public domain before a relator filed suit. If the bar applies, the relator must prove he meets the Act’s “original source exception” or be dismissed from the case. Due to a circuit split in interpreting the original source exception, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Rockwell v. United States, 127 S. Ct. 1397 (2007), to determine whether the Tenth Circuit misapplied the definition of an original source. This article restates the original source exception by outlining the law and proposing a test to the Supreme Court and lower courts. This article was cited five times in an Amicus brief in the Rockwell case. The author has written another law review article for publication in the Fall of 2008, discussing the Rockwell decision and providing guidance regarding the proper application of the original source exception post-Rockwell.

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