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Qui Tam Case Review and Approval Procedures (Non-Medicaid)

1.)   The following internal procedures will be utilized to the extent practicable by the Georgia Attorney General’s Office in implementing the provision of O.C.G.A. § 23-3-122(b)(1) requiring the written approval of the Attorney General in order for a private person to bring a civil action under § 23-3-122 of the Georgia Taxpayer Protection False Claims Act.  These procedures are adopted at the sole discretion of the Attorney General, are subject to change and modification without notice, and do not create or confer any rights on any person, entity, or party, whether public or private.

2.)   Delivery of Proposed Cases to the Attorney General:  All “Proposed Qui Tam Complaints”, which a relator seeks approval of the Attorney General to file pursuant to §23-3-122 (b)(1),  shall be delivered to the Attorney General’s Office  via hand delivery, US Mail, or Federal Express to

Qui Tam Coordinator
Office of the Attorney General
40 Capitol Square SW
Atlanta, GA  30334

The Attorney General’s Office shall provide the Relator’s counsel with an Acknowledgement of Receipt date and time stamped (“Receipt Time”) as of the time the requested filing is received. Proposed cases shall be assigned a Receipt Time in the order they are actually received regardless of the method of delivery.

3.)   All Proposed Qui Tam Complaints shall be accompanied by:

a.)  A copy of the “Proposed Qui Tam Complaint” the Relator seeks Attorney General approval to file.

b.)  A written “Disclosure Statement”, as required by § 23-3-122 (b)(2) of the evidence and other materials the Relator believes supports the “Proposed Qui Tam Complaint.”

c.)   A signed letter from the Relator’s Counsel who will sign and file the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint if approved by the Attorney General which states that the Relator’s Counsel is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia, or has associated with an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia, and is otherwise  qualified to file the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint on the Relator’s behalf; that the Relator’s Counsel has performed all good faith inquiry and other due diligence required by the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct and Rules of Court required before filing the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint and such other information Relator’s Counsel desires the Attorney General to consider in making the “Approval Determination.”

4.)   Upon receipt by the Attorney General’s Office, the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint and accompanying materials shall be forwarded to the Attorney General’s designee or designees within the Office assigned to review Proposed Qui Tam Complaints, and who shall perform the following tasks as soon as practicable:

a.)  Review the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint and accompanying materials and determine if additional information is required in order to make a recommendation to the Attorney General.

b.)  Request additional information or materials from Relator and  Relator’s Counsel as deemed appropriate.

c.) Conduct such legal research and other inquiries as deemed appropriate.

d.)  In the event the designee determines that the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint does not seek relief provided by O.C.G.A. § 23-3-122 or is not accompanied by a completed Disclosure Statement and the required letter from Relator’s Counsel, the designee may communicate to the Relator’s Counsel a provisional denial of approval to file proposed qui tam complaint, which shall identify the deficiencies resulting in the Provisional Denial.

e.)   In the event the designee determines that the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint does seek relief under §23-3-122 and is accompanied by a completed Disclosure Statement and the required letter from Relator’s Counsel, the  designee shall make a recommendation to the  Attorney General  regarding the proper action with respect to the filing. 

5.)   Upon receipt of an initial or revised staff recommendation,  the Attorney General will as soon as practicable: 

a.)  Review and consider the staff recommendation and in his sole discretion request such additional review, analysis, and inquiry by the designee, and may in his sole discretion directly communicate with Relator and Relator’s Counsel as appropriate.

b.)  Upon final review, the Attorney General will cause to be issued and delivered to Relator’s Counsel the Attorney General’s approval determination in the form of an “Approval to File Proposed Qui Tam Complaint” or a “Denial of Approval to File Proposed Qui Tam Complaint.”

c.)   The Attorney General may require that the Relator’s Counsel make such amendments to the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint and accompanying documents as a condition to an Approval to File Proposed Qui Tam Complaint.

d.)  The  Attorney General may in his sole discretion state in the Denial of Approval to File Proposed Qui Tam Complaint the reasons for the denial.

e.)  The Attorney General may in his sole discretion include with a Denial of Approval to File Proposed Qui Tam Complaint a suggestion that the Relator take further action and resubmit a Proposed Qui Tam Complaint for approval.

6.)   Upon receipt of a Provisional Denial of Approval to File Proposed Qui Tam Complaint or Denial of Approval to File Proposed Qui Tam Complaint, the Relator may augment or otherwise modify the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint and accompanying documents and resubmit them pursuant to the above procedure, in which event each such resubmission shall result in a new Receipt Time.

7.)   Upon receipt of an Approval to File Proposed Qui Tam Complaint; the Relator shall, in the discretion of the Relator:

a.)  Within 30 days, or such additional time as may be specified by the Attorney General, file the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint, after complying with any amendment requirements or other conditions imposed by the Attorney General.

b.)  Resubmit a modified Proposed Qui Tam Complaint and accompanying documents pursuant to the above procedure.

c.)   Decide to take no action with respect to the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint, without prejudice to the submission of any Proposed Qui Tam Complaint in the future pursuant to the above procedures, in which case Relator Counsel’s shall notify the Attorney General’s Office in writing of such decision.

8.)   Pursuant to § 23-3-122(b)(6), “[a]ny evidence and information provided to the Attorney General or his or her designee, including any district attorney or local government, by a private person in connection with an action under this Code section shall not constitute public records and shall be exempt from disclosure under [the Open Records Act], Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50.  Any such evidence also shall be protected by the common interest privilege and work product doctrine.”

9.) The Attorney General may in his sole discretion, at any time, waive the requirement of compliance with these internal procedures  if he deems such waiver to be in the interests of the State or local government .

10.) In the event that a Relator desires to join a qui tam action pursuant to O.C.G.A. §23-3-122 together with a qui tam action on behalf of the United States pursuant to 31 U.S.C. §3730 and to bring such an action in a United States District Court, the Relator shall so notify the Attorney General’s Office at the time the Relator seeks Attorney General approval under § 23-3-122(b)(1). The Relator may not file any Qui Tam action containing claims brought under the Georgia Taxpayer Protection False Claims Act without first obtaining a written Notice of Approval from the Attorney General, regardless of whether such claims are filed in state or federal court.

11.) The Attorney General may consider any and all information the Attorney General deems pertinent with respect to any approval pursuant to O.G.C.A. §23-3- 122 (b) (1) including, but not limited to, the following:

a.)  The specificity, clarity and comprehensiveness of the allegations in the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint and the information in the Disclosure Statement.

b.)  Whether the factual allegations made and legal theories advanced by the Relator appear supportable and likely to state a claim.

c.)  Whether available information, such as the filing of other law suits, indicates that the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint will be filed for vexatious, harassing or other improper purposes.

d.)  Whether the Relator advances a theory of or claim for damages and/or civil penalties that is reasonably related to the misconduct and harm alleged.

e.)  Whether the Relator advances a theory of or claim for damages and/or civil penalties that seeks an excessive recovery in light of the misconduct and harm alleged.

f.)   Whether, and to what extent, the Relator’s Counsel has experience in False Claims Act litigation, federal or state, such that it is likely that counsel will be able to effectively pursue the case.

g.)  Whether the available information indicates that the Relator and the Relator’s Counsel have the ability and willingness to devote adequate resources such that it would be in the interest of the State or local government for the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint to be filed.

h.)  Whether available information indicates that it would be in the interest of the State or local government for another relator’s proposed or pending qui tam action to proceed and for the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint to not be filed or to be filed after the filing of another proposed qui tam action. 

i.)   Whether the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint is likely to be subject to dismissal on the basis of public disclosure and the Attorney General is unlikely to object to such dismissal.

j.)  Whether the allegations in the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint are related to pending or potential criminal investigations or prosecutions, and, if so, whether proceeding with the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint could prejudice or otherwise interfere with the pending or potential criminal proceeding.

k.)  Whether, in the sole discretion of the Attorney General, proceeding with the Proposed Qui Tam Complaint would be in the interest of the State or local government.