Date: May 1, 2019

Law360 covered an appellate victory by TELG client Julie Reed, whose False Claims Act case against KeyPoint Government Solutions now returns to a federal judge for further analysis. The decision broke new ground in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit — sometimes an unforgiving jurisdiction for qui tam relators such as Ms. Reed — by grappling with the law's requirement for relators to "materially add" to information that's already known to the U.S. government. The lower court had said Ms. Reed didn't meet the standard. The Tenth Circuit disagreed, saying that her claims "blaze a new trail."

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Whistleblower Gets New Go at FCA Suit Against Gov’t Vendor

The Tenth Circuit revived a False Claims Act suit against a company that provides background checks for government employees Tuesday, saying there are unanswered questions about whether the whistleblower met the act’s standards for filing suit.

After the court’s ruling, former KeyPoint Government Solutions quality control analyst Julie Reed will get another stab at her qui tam suit against the government contractor over claims it billed the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for investigations it knew did not meet quality and completeness standards.

The False Claims Act bars whistleblowers from suing over allegations that are already public unless they can be established as an “original source” of the information. While Reed’s allegations largely track those included in earlier litigation and news articles about problems within KeyPoint and other government background check vendors, if she adds something new, there’s a chance she could be an original source, the appellate court said.

And Reed did present some new information, the panel found, reversing the district court’s ruling dismissing her suit.

“Ms. Reed’s allegations do not add a few more breadcrumbs on an existing trail; they blaze a new trail,” the panel wrote.

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