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U.S. Supreme Court: False Claims Act Liability Depends on Defendant’s Subjective Beliefs

Michael R. Bertoncini & William Kang for Jackson Lewis:

Liability in False Claims Act (FCA) suits depends on whether a defendant subjectively believed its claims were false, not on whether it can offer an objectively reasonable basis for its claims, the U.S. Supreme Court has held in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Clarence Thomas. U.S. ex. rel. Schutte v. SuperValu Inc., No. 21-1326, together with U.S. ex rel. Proctor v. Safeway, Inc., No. 22-111 (June 1, 2023).

Following the Court’s decision, Medicare and Medicaid providers and other federal contractors should practice caution when submitting claims to the U.S. government. An FCA defendant’s subjective beliefs at the time claims were submitted may become subjected to intense scrutiny.