On January 25, 2018, Jeff Belkin was quoted by Law360 in the article “FCA Memo No Proof of New DOJ Direction on Dismissals,” which covers a recently leaked memo from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) detailing when DOJ attorneys should ask to dismiss “meritless” qui tam False Claims Act cases. The article covers varying viewpoints about what the impact of the memo will be on future FCA cases. Many FCA defense attorneys have reacted positively, some saying that the memo does suggest a change in policy. Others have reservations and remain unconvinced of actual policy changes. In the article, Jeff advocates a “too early to tell” position, noting that the memo does not require DOJ attorneys “to analyze whether to dismiss a qui tam case every time they decline intervention.” He says that “despite all the Chicken Little claims out there, it’s a shift in direction but not a 180- or even a 90-degree turn, more of a 10-degree turn.” However, Jeff expects that the memo should “provide more consistency across DOJ offices in two particular circumstances that may warrant dismissal: responding to qui tam complaints that look viable on their face but turn out, after a DOJ investigation, to lack substance, and cases with a set of ‘bad or weak allegations’ that could lead to a legal ruling making it harder to successfully enforce the FCA further down the road.”
Read the full article (subscription required).