October 30, 2013
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the STATE OF CALIFORNIA, ex rel. DOUGLAS DALITZ, CRNA and RANDY GRAY, CRNA, Plaintiffs,
AMSURG CORP., et al., Defendants.
TROY L. NUNLEY, District Judge.
The United States and the state of California having declined to intervene in this action pursuant to the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(4)(B), and California False Claims Act, § 12652(c)(6)(B). Relators Douglas Dalitz and Randy Gray as well as the United States and State of California request that the Court unseal the Complaint (ECF No. 1), the United States and State of California's Election to Decline Intervention Notice (ECF No. 16), and the United States and State of California's Proposed Order (ECF No. 16-1). Additionally, the parties request that all other papers on file in this action remain under seal because, " in discussing the content and extent of the government entities' investigation, such papers were provided by law to the Court alone for the sole purpose of evaluating whether the seal and time for making an election to intervene should be extended." (ECF No. 16 at 1-2.)
The Court finds that the government entities have a significant interest in protecting the details of their investigative techniques and process in matters alleging fraud or false claims. See American Civil Liberties Union v. Holder, 652 F.Supp.2d 654, 666 (E.D. Va. 2009). The False Claims Act ("FCA") and California False Claims Act provide a procedure for the government entities to provide information about their investigations to the Court in order to demonstrate that good cause exists to extend the intervention deadline. These applications are for the Court alone, and the FCA specifically provides that they may be submitted in camera. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(3). As such, the Court rules as follows:
IT IS ORDERED that,
1. The Complaint be unsealed and served upon the defendants by the relators;
2. All other contents of the Court's file in this action remain under seal and shall not be made public or served upon the defendants, except for this Order and the Notice of the United States and the State of California of Elections to Decline Intervention, which the relators will serve upon the defendants only after service of the Complaint;
3. The seal be lifted as to all other matters occurring in this action after the date of this Order;
4. The parties shall serve all pleadings and motions filed in this action, including supporting memoranda, upon the United States and state of California, as provided for in 31 U.S.C. § 3730(c)(3) and Cal. Gov. Code § 12652(f)(1). The United States and state of California may order any deposition transcripts and are entitled to intervene in this action, for good cause, at any time;
5. The parties shall serve all notices of appeal upon the United States and state of California;
6. All orders of this Court shall be sent to the United States and state of California; and that
7. Should the relators or the defendants propose that this action be dismissed, settled, or otherwise discontinued, the Court will provide the United States and state of California with notice and an opportunity to be heard before ruling or granting its approval.
IT IS SO ORDERED.