Supreme Court Rejects Whistleblower's Attempt to Use FOIA to Forage for False Claims Act Allegations

On May 16, the Supreme Court resolved a circuit split making it clear that whistleblowers cannot file qui tam lawsuits after using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to mine federal agency records for evidence to support a "hunch" or suspicion of fraud. In Schindler Elevator Corp. v. United States ex rel. Kirk, No. 10-188, 563 U.S. __ (2011), the Court held that an agency's written response to a FOIA request for records can trigger the False Claims Act's (FCA) public disclosure bar.

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