Appeals Court Rules that the Settlement in the Quest Diagnostic Qui Tam case can be Publicly Revealed.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Pennsylvania ruled that a shared agreement between two qui tam claimants who brought suits against Quest Diagnostics can be made available for public view. The Court ruled in the case of Fair Laboratory Practices Associates v. Riedel that making the settlement agreement available for public viewing would not result in personal harm and that allowing its disclosure was also in the public interest. The suit arose from a qui tam suit brought against Quest Diagnostics (QDI) in a California state court by plaintiffs Riedel and Hunter Laboratories. Both parties filed numerous suits against QDI and other laboratories in the case. Under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, private parties can sue on behalf of the government in cases of False Claims Act violations and share in any recover that comes about as a result of the lawsuit.
According to court documents, Fair Laboratory Practices Associates and Hunter entered into a qui tam sharing agreement and agreed to share in their respective suits against QDI and other laboratories. Appellate Judges Thomas Ambro, Patty Shwartz and Julio Fuentes ruled for a seal reversal, saying that that the district court had, “too quickly discounted the public’s interest,” in the case. (In 2009 Quest Diagnostics agreed to pay the U.S. $302 million to resolve allegations that a subsidiary sold misbranded test kits. In 2015, Quest Diagnostics agreed to pay the United States $1.79 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations)
The case is a part of the government’s ongoing efforts at combating health care fraud via its Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Team (HEAT) which was announced back in May of 2009 by the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The result is that since January 2009 the Justice Department has recovered more than $31.4 billion through False Claims Act cases. If you have chosen to disclose False Claims Act violations to the government it is also advised that you contact qui tam lawyers. Qui tam attorneys can advise you in such matters and will work to protect your rights under the law.