If, as the saying goes, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, what then to make of the government’s absolute veto power over False Claims Act settlements? In United States ex rel. Michaels v. Agape Senior Community Inc., the Fourth Circuit recently confirmed that even when the government declines to intervene in a False Claims Act case, it still has wide latitude to affect the direction of the litigation by vetoing an agreed-upon settlement. Though the Fourth Circuit is just the latest court to rule that the government has such absolute veto power, its opinion is a reminder that the government’s nonintervention in an FCA case should not be mistaken for government disinterest.
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