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Fourth Circuit Clarifies FCA’s Retaliation Standard

In Carlson v. Dyncorp International, LLC, the Fourth Circuit clarified the standard a plaintiff in the Fourth Circuit must meet to survive a motion to dismiss a retaliation claim brought pursuant to Section 3730(h)(1) of the FCA. Section 3730(h)(1) establishes a cause of action against an employer that retaliates against an employee as a result of lawful acts done by the employee in furtherance of an FCA action “or other efforts to stop 1 or more violations” of the FCA.

The Fourth Circuit agreed with the plaintiff that the amendments to the retaliation provision in 2009 and 2010 broaden the FCA’s retaliation provision. According to the Fourth Circuit, the second prong of the retaliation provision – making efforts to stop 1 or more violations – requires a factual showing of an “objectively reasonable belief that the employee’s employer is violating, or soon will violate, the FCA.” While an FCA violation often goes hand in hand with a retaliation claim, proving an FCA violation is not a required element of an FCA retaliation cause of action.

A copy of the Fourth Circuit’s opinion can be found here.

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