Today, Cause of Action Institute filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court, the first in the organization’s history, asking the high court to reverse a Seventh Circuit ruling that barred CoA Institute from suing the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) under the False Claims Act.
In March 2012, CoA Institute provided the U.S. Department of Justice with evidence that CTA for years had intentionally over-billed the Federal Transportation Authority, defrauding taxpayers out of tens of millions of dollars. The Department of Justice declined to intervene in the case. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted CTA’s motion to dismiss, which the Seventh Circuit incorrectly upheld.
The cert petition identifies several areas of judicial confusion over the proper application of the public disclosure bar, which prevents qui tam plaintiffs from assisting the federal government in recovering money defendants fraudulently obtained from the government.
Qui tam plaintiffs play an important role in policing federal programs. In the last fiscal year, eighty percent of the funds recovered for the government in False Claims Act cases derived from lawsuits filed under the qui tam provisions. The Seven Circuit’s decision to bar CoA Institute from pursuing a case against CTA will chill other qui tam plaintiffs and hurt the federal government’s ability to root out fraudsters.
Read the petition for writ of certiorari here.