In a per curiam decision issued January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal health care worker vaccine mandate rule, finding that the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was authorized by law to issue the rule.  See our previous analyses of the rule and subsequent litigation here and here for more background information on the stakes of this case.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Worker Vaccine Mandate

In a 7-1 decision released June 3, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a proposal of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would have had the effect of significantly reducing Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments to thousands of hospitals for care furnished to low income patients in 2012.

In Azar v. Allina Health Services, Et Al., the Supreme Court held that HHS needed to comply with statutory notice and comment rulemaking procedures under the Social Security Act (Act) when making interpretive changes, because HHS sought to establish or change substantive legal standards.  As a result, HHS was required to publish its proposal to change the DSH payment calculations for 2012 for notice and comment, and its unilateral determination regarding the calculation of those payments was invalid.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Rejects HHS Proposal that Could Have Significantly Lowered Certain Medicare DSH Payments to Hospitals

In a unanimous decision issued on May 13, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court sought to resolve lingering confusion over the statute of limitations under the False Claims Act (FCA) for qui tam suits in which the federal government declines to intervene. In Cochise Consultancy, Inc. v. United States Ex Rel. Hunt, the Court held that a relator’s claim may be brought within 3 years after the government was made aware of underlying material claims, even where the government did not intervene in the case, because 10 years had not passed since the actions giving rise to such claims occurred, applying the periods in 31 U.S.C. § 3731(b)(2) to the case. Cochise addresses confusion over applicability of 31 U.S.C. § 3731(b), which contains two separate limitations periods (along with a repose period) that can apply to an FCA suit. Under that law, an FCA action may be brought (1) 6 years from the date of the violation, or (2) 3 years from the date the U.S. official responsible for acting knew or should have known of the violation, but no later than 10 years from the date the violation occurred.

The FCA makes it unlawful for individuals or entities to knowingly submit or cause to be submitted false claims for government payment. FCA suits may be brought by the government, or by private citizens in qui tam actions in the name of the United States. In qui tam actions the relator must serve the complaint on the government, and the government then has an opportunity to intervene in the suit.

Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Scope of False Claims Act Statutes of Limitations

On March 30, 2018, Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Microsoft Corporation that seeks to vacate the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the case (which held in favor of Microsoft) and to remand the case with directions to dismiss it as moot. The motion was submitted in response to the passage of the CLOUD Act on March 23, 2018, and the Solicitor General’s subsequent letter to the Court on that same date prefacing its intent to submit a supplementary filing to address the effect of the CLOUD Act on the Court’s disposition of the Microsoft case (see previous discussion here).

In its motion, the government “respectfully submits that this case is now moot” because the CLOUD Act “resolves the question presented” by amending the Stored Communications Act (SCA), in part, to state that service providers subject to a court order issued under the SCA are obligated to produce information within their “possession, custody, or control” without regard to whether the information is stored within or outside of the United States. The government further discloses that following enactment of the CLOUD Act, the government actually obtained a new warrant thereunder, and consequently Microsoft’s objection that the prior warrant issued under the SCA impermissibly sought to compel extraterritorial action is no longer applicable.
Continue Reading Government and Microsoft In Agreement that Pending Case Mooted by CLOUD Act