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False Claims Act Statistics, News & Analysis

Methodology

Each government fiscal year ending in September, the U.S. Department of Justice reports on the billions recovered under the False Claims Act from defense and government contractors, health care providers, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and others. DOJ also releases a few statistical tables, breaking out its recoveries over the years and by industry. The data is very high-level and old news by the time it is released.

We at Lincoln’s Law Blog (LLB) hope to do better and offer as close to real-time data as we can muster. Unlike DOJ, however, we do not have instant access to FCA statistics (and the financial recoveries), so we thought it would be helpful to explain our data recovery methodology below.

We have searches and alerts set up to track DOJ press releases about recoveries under the FCA, and we also monitor the full gamut of news sites, relator’s blogs, and other publicly available sources to watch for new recoveries. As soon as a new recovery pops up, we at LLB read the press release, find the settlement agreement or other document, if publicly available, and pull the docket from PACER for the case, if a case exists and can be found.

LLB’s data collection is, and will remain, a work in progress. Data is not always readily available. Further, while some data points are clear-cut, others, such as how long a case remained under seal or, where there were multiple cases, how to identify when the case was filed, are less straightforward. Gathering this data requires judgment calls. In the table below, we explain what each type of data means and how we get the information.

Lastly, we may make mistakes. If you see a mistake, e-mail us, and we will look into it. Finally, if you have ideas or comments for new types of data that we can collect (and how), or new ways to slice the data, please e-mail us.

Type of Data  Explanation and Caveats

Defendant Our data is collected per defendant, rather than per case or per investigation, because that is more meaningful to defendants evaluating their potential liability. We have made exceptions, however, where the co-defendants were all subsidiaries of one company, and where we could not determine how much different defendants paid (often where the co-defendants were individuals).

Recovery The amount of federal FCA recovery from a defendant identified in DOJ’s press release, settlement agreement, or court filing. This includes judgments, verdicts, and settlements. Where possible, we exclude amounts paid to states, restitution, and payments pursuant to other laws. In a few cases, where distinguishing the FCA component of a settlement is impossible, but it seems clear the FCA is the vast majority of the recovery, we attribute the full amount to the FCA. In even fewer cases, where we believe the majority of a very large recovery is not from the FCA, and including the full amount of the recovery would distort the overall data, we have opted to exclude that recovery until we see how DOJ characterizes the recovery at the end of the year.

Reported On The day DOJ or another reliable source reported the recovery as final. We do not record tentative settlements acknowledged in corporate SEC filings, such as 10-Ks, or that appear on dockets as proposed settlements.

Industry The industry in which the underlying government contract occurred—that is, if a company known generally as a pharmaceutical company is sued related to a medical device, we categorized it as a medical device industry case rather than a pharmaceutical case. This is not always straightforward. For example, where a construction contract was for the Department of Defense, we have treated it as a defense contract. But it also could have been treated as construction. Here are the categories we have now, but the list is always growing as DOJ expands the FCA’s reach:

  • Defense – All contracts for the Department of Defense except for health care claims to the Department of Veterans Affairs or TRICARE.
    • Aerospace/Aviation – Builders and maintainers of aircraft.
    • Construction – Companies that build facilities for all branches of the military.
    • Consulting – Companies that provide specialized staffing and other consulting services to the military.
    • IT/Cyber-Security – Companies that build and maintain software and IT security systems for the military.
    • Land Vehicles – Manufacturers of trucks, tanks, and other vehicles for the military.
    • Logistics – Companies that manage the supply chain, subcontracting, and quarter-master-type roles for the military.
    • Shipbuilding – Builders of ships for the Navy and Coast Guard.
    • Weapons/Munitions – Manufacturers of firearms and munitions.
    • Other Defense Contractors

  • Health Care
    • Nursing/Ambulance/Rehab – Non-doctor health care provider, such as nursing homes and ambulance services.
    • Health Care Financial Services – Claims processors for providers and insurance companies.
    • Laboratory – Companies that run tests on blood and tissue samples and do not provide care or medical advice.
    • Medical Device & Supply – Companies that provide general medical supplies as well as more complex FDA-regulated medical devices.
    • Pharmaceutical – Pharmaceutical drug developers, compounding pharmacies, and retail pharmacies.
    • Providers – Hospitals, medical groups, doctors, and nurses.

  • Other 
    • Banking – Non-mortgage banking.
    • Construction – Non-defense construction.
    • Education – Public and private high schools, trade schools, certification programs, and universities.
    • Energy – Construction of power plants, purchase of power, royalties for drilling on public property, and other energy-sector related contracts.
    • Grant Recipient – Public and private recipient of federal grant funds for programs that do not fit in another category, for instance DOJ’s COPS grants to police departments and NSF grants to research institutions.
    • Import / Export – Importing or exporting goods.
    • IT – Information technology, software sales, and IT consulting.
    • Logging – Forest Service contracts to allow logging on public lands.
    • Mortgages – Mortgage lending related, often related to loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or subsidized by the Federal Housing Administration.
Relator's Share The approximate percent of the federal FCA recovery received by the relator who brought the claim, where applicable. Often this data is not publicly stated. For cases with large numbers of defendants, relator’s share is often measured in terms of the overall combined recovery, and in those cases, we assume the relator’s share is the same for all recoveries announced at the same time.

Yrs. Filed to Recovery The approximate number of years between when the complaint was filed under seal and when the government obtained a recovery from the defendant. Where there are multiple cases, we use the earliest year of those cases. Where the year in the case number and the year of the earliest complaint in the docket differ, we use the earlier of the two.

Jurisdiction Either the court where the case was filed or, if no case was filed or we do not know where the case was filed, the U.S. Attorney’s office listed as involved in the investigation. Where multiple U.S. Attorneys’ offices are involved, or where the investigation was run exclusively out of Main Justice, we indicate that. In cases where it is unclear what jurisdiction (if any) should receive ‘credit’ for the recovery, those recoveries are accounted for under the ‘Federal & Other’ category in our data set.


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