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U.S. ex rel. Proctor v. Safeway, Inc.: When “Subjective Intent Is Legally Irrelevant” to Proving Scienter Under the FCA

July 6, 2020, Covington Advisory

The False Claims Act (FCA) only imposes liability on those who “knowingly” cause the submission of false claims. 31 U.S.C. § 3729. “Knowingly” is defined as having “actual knowledge,” acting “in deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information,” or, at minimum, acting “in reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information.” To establish scienter under this standard, qui tam relators frequently invoke evidence, such as internal emails and policy documents, to show that the defendant was subjectively aware of legal requirements but did not follow them.

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