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Qui Tam 2019 is the second annual conference of the Federal Bar Association's Qui Tam Section, for which TELG's Scott Oswald serves as chair. The two-day event will tackle some of the hottest topics in False Claims Act litigation, with panels featuring attorneys from both sides of the aisle, along with government prosecutors, agency representatives, and subject-matter experts.
Here Scott talks about the conference's opener, a year-in-review session, with panel moderator (and former section chair) John Thomas of Healy, Hafemann Magee.
This video interview by TELG managing principal R. Scott Oswald was published by The Employment Law Group, P.C. on January 16, 2019.
Qui Tam 2019 Panel Preview: Year in Review
» Click here for registration and full details on Qui Tam 2019
(Transcribed and edited lightly by The Employment Law Group)
R. Scott Oswald: [Addressing camera] We are here with John Thomas. John is the immediate past chair of the Qui Tam Section of the Federal Bar Association.
And John, at our conference this year, in Washington on February 28 and March 1, 2019, we have a panel — it’s going to be the first panel, really an annual update.
John R. Thomas: That’s right. Our plan is to — this will be the second year we’ve done it — to have an annual update. It’ll be the first panel of the [first] day and we’ll focus on some of the notable case law updates from the previous year.
Oswald: Who do we have as our panelists for the panel?
Thomas: Our two panelists are Claire Sylvia with Phillips & Cohen and Stuart Delery with Gibson Dunn.
Oswald: So give us a sense of — you know, I’m sitting in the audience, I’m here for the first panel. I’ve got my coffee, I’ve got my Danish, and I’m here to learn something. What am I going to learn in this hour that we’ll all have together?
Thomas: I think the most important thing about our panel is, as we all know, the False Claims Act is operating in a very small universe of cases and we don’t always get the opportunity to have the Supreme Court make clear what the final word is. We don’t even necessarily get enough trials or enough appellate cases to know what the final word is.
So the idea with the annual update is to look across the country at the ten or so most notable cases of the year. And not just cases — I think we are going to also talk about policy developments coming from [the Department of Justice], and notable settlements. The idea being, maybe we can get a glimpse of what the big picture is as the law evolves.
Oswald: So give us a sense of a couple issues we might hear about — a couple of the cases that you and the other panelists are going to review.
Thomas: I think, you know, we’ll continue to discuss the aftermath of [United Health Services, Inc. v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar], you know, from 2016. We’re still seeing how Escobar is working its way through the appellate courts, as well as the district courts.
Oswald: It’s really reverberating through the courts.
Thomas: It’s reverberating, and so we’re continuing to see Courts of Appeals apply it. I think we’re going to [review] a couple of Escobar cases, most likely. [And we’ll] have a few items to discuss in terms of DOJ policies that have come out over the last year — seeing how those are, in practical terms, really impacting on the ground.
Oswald: So what do you look forward to on the panel, in terms of its content?
Thomas: Well, both Stewart and Claire are real masters in this area of the law, so I think it’ll be a wonderful opportunity to see their insights from both the relator’s and the defense perspective. Both of them — of course, Claire has a [False Claims Act] treatise and Gibson Dunn obviously has its very notable year-end review. So I think we’re going to all get a huge benefit from their perspectives, because they definitely have a very eagle-eyed perspective on the law.
Oswald: So I understand you have some news: You just switched firms — you’re at a new firm. Tell us a little about it.
Thomas: I did. I’m with the firm Healy Hafemann Magee. I’m going to be opening — I am opening the Virginia office for them. It’s about ten attorneys; we’re all current or former military. All the other partners are Marines with whom I served. Some of them I’ve known for a pretty long time. We’ve definitely — you know, we’ve dug fighting holes together. So it’ll be a fun new adventure. I’m going to continue to work on False Claims Act work and white-collar work with them, and — yeah, it’s very exciting.
Oswald: John, that’s great!
Oswald: [Addressing camera] We look forward to having everybody join us on February 28 and March 1, 2019 in Washington. It’s the second annual conference of the Federal Bar’s Qui Tam Section. You can register at fedbar.org/quitam19. We look forward to seeing you in February.