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Supreme Court adopts stricter standards for whistleblower recoveries

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] handed down decisions in two cases Tuesday, including Rockwell International v. US ex rel. Stone [Duke Law case backgrounder] where the Court held that individuals must be able to show that they are the "original source" of information concerning the fraudulent use of federal funds in order bring suit against an organization on behalf of the federal government. Stone brought a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act [text] against Rockwell for falsely representing compliance with federal environmental regulations. The lower courts ruled against Rockwell's motion to dismiss, holding that Stone was an "original source" due to his independent knowledge of both some of the violations and Rockwell's duty to comply with regulations. The Supreme Court vacated the Tenth Circuit's decision [text] in the case, holding that the whistle-blower attempting to bring suit must have "direct and independent knowledge" of all the allegations surrounding the suit, including those as amended in revised complaints. Stone did not have direct knowledge of the violations for which the jury found Rockwell culpable, and therefore he was not able to recover a portion of Rockwell's payment to the government as provided in the Act. Read the Court's opinion [text] per Justice Scalia and a dissent [text] from Justice Stevens. AP has more.

In Limtiaco v. Camacho [Duke Law case backgrounder], the Court held that "Guam's debt limitation must be calculated according to ... the assessed valuation" of property in Guam. The Organic Act of Guam [text] requires that public indebtedness be limited to 10 percent of the "aggregate tax valuation of the property on Guam" and there was a dispute over whether that should be calculated using the assessed valuation or appraised valuation of property. Read the Court's opinion [text] per Justice Thomas, along with a partial concurrence and dissent [text] per Justice Stevens.

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