We talk a lot about False Claims Act recoveries for the United States as a whole. But we rarely look at where exactly the cases that lead to those recoveries are filed, and which U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in those districts are working with relators most frequently to deliver those results. To help answer those questions, we’ve delved into the numbers to come up with some pretty interesting tallies.1
There are 94 jurisdictions in the U.S. in which to file a False Claims Act case, and so far, there are 16 districts with a Billion Dollars or more in FCA settlements and judgments.
The district which has generated the most money in FCA settlements and judgments is the District of Massachusetts, with more than $9.59 Billion in recoveries.
As you can see these 16 jurisdictions account for more than $51 Billion in settlements and judgments for the federal government through False Claims Act cases. That is roughly 72.7% of the total for all False Claims Act cases.2 These figures do not include a major case settlement just announced, United States ex rel. Bawduniak v. Biogen Idec, Inc., No. 12-cv-10601-IT (D. Mass.). Under the terms of the settlement, Biogen will pay $900 Million ($843,805,187 to the United States and $56,194,813 to 15 states). That number will go onto next year’s totals.
By next year there could also easily be 18 jurisdictions responsible for recovering more than a Billion Dollars. Colorado is tantalizingly close to making the list as is the Eastern District of Michigan. And since one large case can add significantly to any district’s totals, there may be other districts joining the list in the future.
The busiest districts, or at least the ones with the most successful cases, are California Central (Los Angeles and surrounding areas) and Pennsylvania Eastern (Philadelphia area) tied with 276 cases leading to FCA settlements or judgments.
Even the districts with the most successful FCA cases have less than 300 settlements and judgments since the False Claims Act was amended in 1986. That means even the busiest districts are not averaging 10 such settlements or judgments per year. When we report on the billions collected by False Claims Act cases it is still money generated by relatively few cases.
Finally, Massachusetts is back at the top as the first to pay more than a Billion Dollars in relator’s share awards. ($1,323,515,533.60 by our count). Again, these totals do not account for the 29.6% relator share awarded to the successful whistleblower in the recent Biogen settlement, which will add an additional $266.4 Million to the Massachusetts tally for next year.3
As those of us born there say, “God Save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” And for everyone else, “there’s always next year.”
Written by Tony Munter of Price Benowitz and research conducted by Julia-Jeane Lighten of Taxpayers Against Fraud. Edited by Kate Scanlan of Keller Grover LLP. Fact checked by Julia-Jeane Lighten of Taxpayers Against Fraud.
1. All data summarized below was taken from publicly available information on settlements and judgments in False Claims Act cases and prepared internally at TAF. Data includes both declined and intervened cases.
2. The total federal settlement and judgment number is $70,148,409,966.00 as of FY 2021.
3. Relators earn between 25-30% on declined cases as opposed to 15-25% on cases intervened (taken over) by the government. In this case, relator and his counsel litigated the case after the government declined to intervene and reached this settlement on the eve of trial more than ten years after filing the case.