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GOVERNMENT in a case of first impression for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the court ruled on June 24 that under federal qui tam law, a relator’s “information,” from which he derives standing to sue, could be based on publicly disclosed information rather than the allegations in a qui tam complaint. United States v. Lockheed Martin Eng’g and Science Servs. Co., No. 02-40504. James Mayfield filed a qui tam action under the federal False Claims Act, alleging improprieties by Lockheed Martin in its dealings with NASA. Following the reasoning of the 3d, 9th and 10th circuits, a Texas federal court granted summary judgment to Lockheed Martin, holding that Mayfield did not qualify as an “original source” of the information under the act because he did not have direct and independent knowledge of all allegations in the complaint. Mayfield, as relator, appealed. Reversing, the 5th Circuit ruled that Mayfield qualified as an original source and joined the 4th, 6th, 8th and D.C. circuits in holding that “information” in the pertinent section of the act referred to “the information on which the publicly disclosed allegations are based rather than the information contained in the relator’s qui tam complaint.” It added, “We see no logic in interpreting the word ‘information’ in subparagraph (A) to refer to information publicly disclosed and then interpreting ‘information’ in subparagraph (B)-a subparagraph clearly intended to define a term identified in subparagraph (A)-to refer to each false claim alleged in the relator’s qui tam complaint.”

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