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Qui Tam 2020 is the third 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 — plus government prosecutors, agency representatives, and subject-matter experts. Here the co-chairs of Qui Tam 2020, Kate Seikaly of Reed Smith and David Finkelstein of the U.S. Department of Justice, give Scott a brief overview of the conference.
This video interview by TELG managing principal R. Scott Oswald was published by The Employment Law Group, P.C. on November 19, 2019.
Qui Tam 2020: A Preview from the Co-Chairs
» Click here for registration and full details on Qui Tam 2020
(Transcribed and edited lightly by The Employment Law Group)
R. Scott Oswald: Welcome to our introductory video for this year’s Qui Tam Conference — the Federal Bar Association’s third annual [Qui Tam Section] conference on February 27-28, 2020.
For this video I am joined by Kate Seikaly, who is a partner at Reed Smith, and David Finkelstein, who is a trial attorney at the Department of Justice. Kate and David, welcome!
Katherine J. Seikaly: Thanks, Scott.
Oswald: Tell us a little bit about the conference that we have scheduled on the 27th and 28th of February. Let’s talk about theme: What is the theme of the conference?
Seikaly: The theme of this year’s conference is Emerging Trends in the False Claims Act. It’s a two-day conference, so we’ve split it up to be one day of talking about new procedural issues that are coming up — the cooperation memo that came out from the Department of Justice, looking at dismissals, … new trends in discovery procedure. And that’s one day.
And the other day we’re focusing on new substantive trends — the opioid litigation, some different kinds of False Claims Act cases that are coming up.
So that’s how we’ve split up the conference.
Oswald: So David, talk to us a little bit about — if I’m coming to the conference, and maybe I’ve been to previous conferences, what am I going to see this year that’s new?
David Finkelstein: I like to think of that question as, How is this night different from every other night?
Of course, we’re keyed into recent developments in the False Claims Act jurisprudence, so the themes almost select themselves. I think, as Kate said, one of the things that’s distinctive about this conference is the way it focuses on all aspects of investigating and litigating and resolving a False Claims Act case from beginning to end.
In that respect, it’s just like the training that we do in the Department of Justice. We have something called Frauds 101, and we do the same thing: Beginning, middle, and end of the case.
What’s distinctive about this conference is we have all perspectives. In the DOJ training, of course, we’re all drinking a certain kind of Kool-Aid. We’re not interested in what the defense bar has to say. Here, unfortunately, we have to be.
[Laughter] No, I’m just kidding.
Oswald: So if I’m defense counsel, right, Kate, and I’ve had the Kool-Aid myself on the defense side, what am I going to learn from my colleagues at DOJ and the relators’ bar who are going to be on these panels?
Seikaly: So that’s what I love the most about this conference, and the ones that I’ve been involved in in the past, is having the perspective of all sides of [the False Claims Act] bar. I do think that’s really important, and I will say the feedback that we’ve gotten from past conferences has been that it’s the distinguishing factor of our conference.
And so each of our panels are built that way. We have members of the defense bar, relators’ bar, and government counsel on each panel. And it really is, it’s very enlightening, I will say, as a defense bar [member] sitting in the audience, just to hear the perspective — to hear the way relators’ counsel or government attorneys think about these issues, and what’s important to them.
It just is invaluable to our practice to take that back and talk to our clients about it, talk to our colleagues about it. I think having that perspective is always helpful.
Oswald: So it helps us be better for our clients.
Oswald: David, tell us about some of the panels. Maybe some of the ones that you’re excited about that we’re going to see.
Finkelstein: One that I’ve thought a lot about is the (c)(2)(A) relator dismissal panel. It’s a hot topic after what we lovingly call the Granston Memo. Mike Granston in his new capacity will also be [at the conference, by the way].
Organizing that panel, the (c)(2)(A) panel, is Colin Huntley — who I think it’s no understatement to say is the world’s leading authority in (c)(2)(A). He’s been responsible for overseeing all of the [Justice] department’s (c)(2)(A) litigation, both as a trial attorney and as management. And so I’m looking forward to what he has to say because it’s been a while since I’ve attended one of his trainings. I think I’ll probably learn as much as everybody else.
Oswald: So we talk about the Granston Memo, I mean that absolutely is a hot topic. Any other hot topics that we can expect to be addressed at this year’s Qui Tam Conference?
Seikaly: Well, I mentioned before the cooperation memo. I think that’s something a lot of people — I mean obviously everybody’s read the memo. But I think just having government lawyers, defense counsel, relators’ counsel, talking about that and what it means in practice, I think is going to be really interesting.
I’m personally really looking forward to the discovery panel, in part because there was a panel last year —
Finkelstein: [Interjects] Which we were on.
Seikaly: [Laughs] It was our panel, coincidentally — about materiality. And [we spent] most of our prep sessions … talking about discovery and the discovery aspects of materiality. So I think that’s going to be a really good panel.
Oswald: So Kate, we’re also going to have some time for socializing, right? We have, after the first day, a cocktail party. We have lunches each of our days — kind of an opportunity to rub elbows with folks who are on both sides of the bar, with Assistant US Attorneys and DOJ attorneys. Sounds like a lot of fun.
Seikaly: Absolutely. That’s another great thing about this conference — just having all those people in one room in that social setting, I think you meet a lot of people. I’ve met a lot of DOJ lawyers at these panels that I’ve worked on cases with and haven’t, you know, haven’t actually met in person before.
So that is a fun part of this conference as well.
Oswald: Kate and David, thank you very much.
Finkelstein: Thank you.
Seikaly: Thank, Scott.
Oswald: We look forward to seeing you on February 27-28 of  at the third Qui Tam Conference. You can find us at fedbar.org.