Federal Bar Association

False Claims Act & Qui Tam Law: Discovery Matters

Join the Federal Bar Association’s Qui Tam section as it provides fresh analysis on the rapidly changing landscape of False Claims Act (“FCA”) enforcement February 27-28, 2018 in Washington, D.C. This two-day conference will feature experienced FCA litigators from a variety of perspectives who will dive into advanced topics and discuss the latest developments, practices, and pitfalls pertaining to the FCA. Register now at http://www.fedbar.org/quitam18.

“Discovery Matters in Qui Tam Cases” is a must-attend panel moderated by Susan S. Gouinlock (Wilbanks & Gouinlock) with speakers Jennifer M. Verkamp (Morgan Verkamp LLC) and Sara Kay Wheeler (King & Spalding Co.). They will discuss discovery issues in qui tam claims and address the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence as well as which communications, interview notes, presentations, recorded phone calls or other materials can be used at trial.

Panelists have a unique mixture of working for the government and working in large and small law firms, representing individuals and businesses in highly regulated industries. They have worked on complex federal cases brought under the FCA. These speakers have managed and executed protracted discovery, lasting over many years, involving hundreds of thousands of documents, and extensive depositions. Additionally, they work with government fraud counsel and investigators. They are adept at managing the complex dynamics of large teams of lawyers and other professionals in big-case prosecution.  Moreover, speakers have an impressive expertise in defending companies in enforcement investigations.

Learn about the potential limits on discovery imposed by the courts, preservation notices, and spoliation risk for relevant information. Also, explore the chief hurdles in pleading a FCA violation that a relator’s qui tam complaint must overcome to avoid dismissal.

A qui tam complaint typically triggers an investigation by the government as it decides whether or not to intervene. In the process, the government may produce its own case materials that are discoverable, including background research, notes from calls, case memorandum that examines facts and law, those efforts to advise the defendant of the nature of the potential claims, any response provided by the defendant, and settlement efforts to that point.

Courts will usually only admit discovery in those areas in which there are substantive factual allegations. Typically, courts will not allow fishing expeditions, and defendants will point out these deficiencies to the district court and emphasize the expansive burdens imposed upon defendant because of over inclusive discovery requests.

Like other actions, qui tam cases are won or lost at the discovery stages. Inevitably, disputes will arise over the scheduling and scope of discovery. The key to winning most qui tam actions is through controlling discovery.  For example, panelists will address creating a comprehensive discovery plan; defendants saving opposition for relator requests that are unreasonable; relators avoiding serving unduly broad and overly burdensome discovery requests; and defendant’s discovery requests being a model of conformity to the federal rules and reasonable to the district court.

Register today for the Qui Tam Conference to save on registration rates with early bird pricing. Sign up at http://www.fedbar.org/quitam18.


Stacy Slotnick, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She performs a broad range of duties as an entertainment lawyer, including drafting and negotiating contracts; addressing and litigating trademark, copyright, patent, and other IP issues; and directing the strategy and implementation of public relations, blogging, and social media campaigns.