Historically, qui tam whistleblower cases have most commonly been brought in federal court under the federal False Claims Act. While many states (a little over half) have False Claims Act statutes of their own—some of which only cover fraud against state Medicaid programs—state claims have often been little more than an afterthought in the broader world of whistleblower litigation.
However, state-level fraud claims have become increasingly important in recent years, and America’s opioid crisis is leading more and more states to consider their False Claims Act statutes as enforcement tools, a trend that we reported on here.
Now, it appears that cities may be getting into the mix, as evidenced by a new lawsuit being brought by the City of Philadelphia against prescription opioid manufacturers. Taking a page from the state-level cases, the City of Philadelphia’s lawsuit alleges both deceptive marketing practices and losses that the city has incurred itself in responding to the opioid epidemic, which would be covered under the City’s False Claims Act statute.
While still somewhat unusual, a growing number of municipal governments have enacted False Claims Act statutes, and those that have them appear to be using them more frequently. Currently, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Allegheny County, PA (Pittsburgh), Miami-Dade County, and Broward County, FL all have False Claims Act statutes, as does the District of Columbia.
To read the City of Philadelphia’s press release about their new opioid lawsuit, follow the link below:
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