Prather v. AT&T

Plaintiff, a state government attorney for over thirty years, filed a qui tam suit under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, alleging that the largest telecom companies in the United States were fraudulently overcharging the federal government for surveillance services. The district court dismissed the suit pursuant to the FCA's public disclosure bar. The court concluded that the 2010 Amendments to the FCA, which transformed the public disclosure bar from a jurisdictional bar to an affirmative defense, do not apply to plaintiff's suit brought in 2009 because substantive changes, which impact the substantive rights of parties, are not applied retroactively; plaintiff did not have direct knowledge of fraud sufficient to qualify as an "original source;" and plaintiff's submissions to the FCC were not "voluntarily provided" as required by the statute. Furthermore, the court concluded that the district court properly determined that it did not have discretion to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's state law claims without jurisdiction over the federal claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Prather v. AT&T" on Justia Law