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Supreme Court Resolves “Original Source” Issue


Resolving a circuit split, the Supreme Court, in a 6-2 decision, ruled yesterday against the relator in Rockwell Int'l Corp. v. U.S. (, holding against the relator because he was not an “original source” of the information on which his allegations were based. The Court clarified that, in determining whether a relator qualifies as an “original source,” (i) the phrase “information on which the allegations are based” in 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4) refers to the relator’s allegations, and not to the publicly disclosed allegations; (ii) a determination of jurisdiction over each of the relator’s allegations must be assessed on an allegation-by-allegation basis; and (iii) when the government has intervened in a qui tam suit, a subsequent determination that the court lacks jurisdiction over all of a relator’s allegations does not divest the court of jurisdiction over the government’s claims.

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Brian C. Elmer
Retired Partner – Washington, D.C.