High court restricts whistleblower lawsuits
Tuesday, March 30, 2010; 12:42 PM
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday placed limits on existing whistleblower lawsuits alleging local governments misused federal money, in a decision that produced newcomer Sonia Sotomayor's first dissenting opinion.
But the just-enacted health care overhaul law contains a provision that changed the federal False Claims Act in a way that would appear to allow new, similar lawsuits to go forward.
The court voted 7-2 to hold that a technical, though important aspect, of the federal whistleblower law applies to local governments. One section of the law prohibits whistleblower lawsuits when public disclosure of the alleged fraud occurs through a court hearing, a news report or congressional or administrative audit.