The FCA allows private citizens to bring suit on behalf of the United States against parties who defraud the government through the filing of false claims. Amendments to the FCA in 1986 require that all FCA suits be initially sealed for a period of 60 days in order to allow the United States the opportunity to investigate and decide whether to intervene into the suit. This seal period can be extended another 60 days upon the showing of good cause.
The ACLU filed suit arguing that the FCA’s seal provisions violate the First Amendment. In a 2-1 opinion, the Fourth Circuit disagreed, holding the provisions constitutional.
According to the court, the seal provisions serve the governments “compelling interest in protecting the integrity of ongoing fraud investigations.” Further, the court held, the provisions are narrowly tailored to serve this compelling interest. See: ACLU v. Holder, No. 09-2086 (4th Cir. 2011).
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Related legal case
ACLU v. Holder
|Cite||No. 09-2086 (4th Cir. 2011)|
|Level||Court of Appeals|