A whistleblower accusing a federal contractor of fraud is entitled to an award only if any government recovery stems from information that was not public when the whistleblower filed suit, a federal appellate court has ruled.

On Feb. 29, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck a district judge’s decision to give three qui tam whistleblowers $52 million of a $325 million payment that SmithKline Beecham Corp. agreed to make to settle a federal False Claims Act suit in 1996. Merena v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., No. 98-1497.