2A:32C-5 Investigation of violation; civil actions.
5. a. The Attorney General shall investigate a violation of this act. If the Attorney General finds that a person has violated or is violating this act, the Attorney General may bring a civil action in State or federal court against the person. The Superior Court shall have jurisdiction over a State action brought pursuant to this act.
b.A person may bring a civil action for a violation of this act for the person and for the State. Civil actions instituted under this act shall be brought in the name of the State of New Jersey.
c.A complaint filed by a person under this act shall remain under seal for at least 60 days and shall not be served on the defendant until the court so orders. Once filed, the action may be voluntarily dismissed by the person bringing the action if the Attorney General gives written consent to the dismissal along with the reason for consenting, and the court approves the dismissal.
d.A complaint alleging a false claim filed under this act shall be so designated when filed, in accordance with the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey. Immediately upon filing of the complaint, the plaintiff shall serve by registered mail, return receipt requested, the Attorney General with a copy of the complaint and written disclosure of substantially all material evidence and information the person possesses. The Attorney General may elect to intervene and proceed with the action on behalf of the State within 60 days after it receives both the complaint and the material evidence and information.
e.(Deleted by amendment, P.L.2009, c.265)
f.The Attorney General may, for good cause shown, request that the court extend the time during which the complaint remains under seal. Any such motion may be supported by affidavits or other submissions in camera.
g.Before the expiration of the 60-day period or any extensions obtained under subsection f., the Attorney General shall:
(1)file a pleading with the court that he intends to proceed with the action, in which case the action is conducted by the Attorney General and the seal shall be lifted; or
(2)file a pleading with the court that he declines to proceed with the action, in which case the seal shall be lifted and the person bringing the action shall have the right to conduct the action.
h.The defendant's answer to any complaint filed under this act shall be filed in accordance with the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey after the complaint is unsealed and served upon the defendant.
i.When a person files an action under this act, no other person except the State may intervene or bring a related action based on the facts underlying the pending action.
L.2007, c.265, s.5; amended 2009, c.265, s.1.
2A:32C-6 Primary responsibility for prosecuting action; remedies, supplementary.
6. a. If the Attorney General proceeds with the action, the Attorney General shall have primary responsibility for prosecuting the action, and shall not be bound by any act of the person bringing the action. The person bringing the action has the right to continue as a party to the action, subject to limitations specified in this act. The person bringing the action has an ongoing duty to disclose information related to the action to the Attorney General.
b.The Attorney General may move to dismiss the action for good cause shown, notwithstanding the objections of the person bringing the action, provided that the person bringing the action has been notified by the Attorney General and the court has provided the person bringing the action with the opportunity for a hearing.
c.Nothing in this act shall be construed to limit the authority of the Attorney General or the person bringing the action to settle the action, if the court determines after a hearing that the proposed settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable under all the circumstances. Upon a showing of good cause, the hearing may be held in camera.
d.Upon a showing by the Attorney General that unrestricted participation during the course of the litigation by the person initiating the action would interfere with or unduly delay the Attorney General's prosecution of the case, or would be repetitious, irrelevant, or for purposes of harassment, the court may, in its discretion, impose limitations on the person's participation, including, but not limited to:
(1)Limiting the number of witnesses the person may call;
(2)Limiting the length of the testimony of the person's witnesses;
(3)Limiting the person's cross-examination of witnesses; or
(4)Otherwise limiting the participation by the person in the litigation.
e.Upon a showing by the defendant that unrestricted participation during the course of the litigation by the person initiating the action would be for purposes of harassment or would cause the defendant undue burden or unnecessary expense, the court may limit the participation by the person in the litigation.
f.If the Attorney General decides not to proceed with the action, the seal shall be lifted and the person who initiated the action shall have the right to conduct the action. The decision of the Attorney General on whether to proceed with an action shall be deemed final and shall not be subject to review by any court or agency. If the Attorney General so requests, the Attorney General shall be served at the expense of the Attorney General with copies of all pleadings and motions filed in the action and copies of all deposition transcripts. When a person proceeds with the action, the court, without limiting the rights of the person initiating the action, may permit the Attorney General to intervene and take over the action on behalf of the State at a later date upon a showing of good cause.
g.Whether or not the Attorney General proceeds with the action, upon a showing by the Attorney General that certain actions of discovery by the person initiating the action would interfere with an investigation by the State or the prosecution of a criminal or civil matter arising out of the same facts, the court may stay such discovery for a period of not more than 60 days. Such a showing shall be conducted in camera. The court may extend the 60-day period upon a further showing in camera by the Attorney General that the criminal or civil investigation or proceeding has been pursued with reasonable diligence and any proposed discovery in the civil action will interfere with an ongoing criminal or civil investigation or proceeding.
h.The application of one civil remedy under this act shall not preclude the application of any other remedy, civil, administrative or criminal, under this act or any other provision of law. Civil and administrative remedies under this act are supplemental, not mutually exclusive. If after the filing of a complaint under section 5 of this act, the Attorney General decides to pursue an alternate administrative recovery action under subsection (e) of section 17 of P.L.1968, c.413 (C.30:4D-17), the plaintiff shall have the same rights in the administrative recovery action as the plaintiff would have had if the action had continued in Superior Court. Any finding of fact or conclusion of law made in the proceeding under subsection (e) of section 17 of P.L.1968, c.413 (C.30:4D-17) that has become final shall be conclusive on all parties to an action initiated under section 5 of this act. As used in this subsection, the term "final" means that the finding of fact or conclusion of law has been finally determined on appeal to the appropriate court, all time for filing such an appeal with respect to the finding or conclusion has expired, or the finding or conclusion is not subject to judicial review.
L.2007, c.265, s.6.
2A:32C-7 Distribution of proceeds.
7. a. If the Attorney General proceeds with and prevails in an action brought by a person under this act, except as provided in subsection b., the court shall order the distribution to the person of at least 15% but not more than 25% of the proceeds recovered under any judgment obtained by the Attorney General under this act or of the proceeds of any settlement of the claim, depending upon the extent to which the person substantially contributed to the prosecution of the action.
b.If the Attorney General proceeds with an action which the court finds to be based primarily on disclosures of specific information, other than that provided by the person bringing the action, relating to allegations or transactions in a criminal, civil, or administrative hearing; a legislative, administrative, or inspector general report, hearing, audit, or investigation; or from the news media, the court may award such sums as it considers appropriate, taking into account the significance of the information and the role of the person bringing the action in advancing the case to litigation.
c.The Attorney General shall receive a fixed 10% of the proceeds in any action or settlement of the claim that it brings, which shall be deposited in the "False Claims Prosecution Fund" established in section 13 of this act and shall only be used to support its ongoing investigation and prosecution of false claims pursuant to the provisions of this act.
d.If the Attorney General does not proceed with an action under this section, the person bringing the action or settling the claim shall receive an amount which the court decides is reasonable for collecting the civil penalty and damages. The amount shall be not less than 25% and not more than 30% of the proceeds of the action or settlement of a claim under this act.
e.Following any distributions under subsection a., b., c. or d. of this section the State entity injured by the submission of a false claim shall be awarded an amount not to exceed its compensatory damages. Any remaining proceeds, including civil penalties awarded under this act, shall be deposited in the General Fund.
f.Any payment under this section to the person bringing the action shall be paid only out of the proceeds recovered from the defendant.
g.Whether or not the Attorney General proceeds with the action, if the court finds that the action was brought by a person who knowingly planned and initiated the violation of this act upon which the action was brought, the court may, to the extent the court considers appropriate, reduce the share of the proceeds of the action which the person would otherwise receive under this section, taking into account the role of the person in advancing the case to litigation and any relevant circumstances pertaining to the violation. If the person bringing the action is convicted of criminal conduct arising from his role in the violation of this act the person shall be dismissed from the civil action and shall not receive any share of the proceeds of the action. Such dismissal shall not prejudice the right of the Attorney General to continue the action.
L.2007, c.265, s.7.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
2A:32C-5 Investigation of violation; civil actions.
2A:32C-5 Investigation of violation; civil actions.