Legal Memorandum: Calculating Attorney's Fees under FCA

Issue: In federal courts, what are the general principles applied in calculating attorney’s fees awardable in a False Claims Act (FCA), or qui tam, claim?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Attorney fees; False Claims Act (FCA); Principles
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 273 F.3d 346; 297 F.3d 253; 892 F.2d 1177; 585 F.2d 47; 534 F.3d 1106; 489 F.3d 417; 54 F. Supp. 2d 410; 912 F. Supp. 2d 165; 256 F.3d 181; 461 U.S. 424; 426 F.3d 694; 496 U.S. 154
Cited Statutes: 31 U.S.C. § 3730(d)(1)
Date: 09/01/2014

A relator who prevails in a False Claims Act (FCA) (qui tam) action has a statutory entitlement to all the relator’s reasonable attorney fees and expenses to be awarded against the defendant.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(d)(1) TA l "31 U.S.C. § 3730(d)(1)" s "31 U.S.C. § 3730(d)(1)" c 2 .

The False Claims Act provides that a successful FCA Relator “shall” receive from the defendant reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses.  31 U.S.C. § 3730(d)(1) TA s "31 U.S.C. § 3730(d)(1)" .  The fee provision is an integral part of the system of shared public and private enforcement that is the driving force behind the FCA.  Congress passed it after noting that the prior version of the FCA did not contain a specific authorization for fees and that in the absence of such a provision Relators and their attorneys would be inhibited and precluded from bringing meritorious FCA actions.  S. Rep. No 99-345, at 29 (1986), reprinted in 1986 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5266, 5294 TA l "S. Rep. No 99-345, at 29 (1986), reprinted in 1986 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5266" s "S. Rep. No 99-345, at 29 (1986), reprinted in 1986 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5266, 5294" c 3 . 

Congress has made clear that in calculating attorney’s fees under the False Claims Act, “[t]he term ‘reasonable attorneys fees’ is intended to incorporate the lodestar standard applied in the United States Supreme Court case of Blum v. Stenson . . . .”  Cong. Rec. (Oct. 7, 1986) at H9389 (statement of Rep. Berman) TA l "Cong. Rec. (Oct. 7, 1986) at H9389 (statement of Rep. […]

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