Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Empirics on qui tam relators as private AGs

Just read David Freeman Engstrom’s super-interesting empirical paper Harnessing the Private Attorney General: Evidence from Qui TamLitigation, which has implications for hiring private firms to assist AGs in consumer protection cases as well. The paper also revealed this tidbit: business competitors are quite successful in pursuing qui tam cases to a successful outcome but achieve small impositions (awards) when they do.  Engstrom suggests that this may lend credence to a concern that business competitors bring False Claims Act claims as part of a broader business dispute, perhaps along with other types of claims (such as antitrust), but with less focus on maximizing impositions.  Perhaps because the US government, for all its size, is rarely a key customer of the parties who tend to use the Lanham Act to sue each other, I haven't seen many Lanham Act-FCA claims (indeed none come to mind at the moment), but it would be interesting to collect a list of the full range of business-on-business claims these days.

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