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How long do False Claims Act cases typically take to resolve?

How Long Do False Claims Act Cases Typically Take to Resolve?

False Claims Act (FCA) cases can vary greatly in how long they take to resolve, from a few months to over a decade. There are several factors that impact the length of FCA cases:

Factors That Impact Length of FCA Cases

Complexity of Allegations

More complex cases involving technical issues or sophisticated schemes often take longer to investigate and litigate. Cases with simple allegations of billing for services not provided may resolve faster.

Extent of Discovery

How much discovery is needed also impacts case length. Cases with minimal documents may resolve faster than cases requiring substantial discovery from multiple parties.

Settlement Negotiations

Lengthy settlement discussions can prolong cases, but sometimes lead to resolution without trial. Simple cases with clear damages often settle faster.

Government Intervention

The government intervening tends to expedite cases, while declining intervention can delay cases as the relator pursues alone.

Type of Defendant

Cases against individual providers often resolve faster than those against pharmaceutical or device manufacturers.


Appeals after judgments at trial can add years to case length.

Typical Timeframes for FCA Cases

1-2 Years

Simple cases with minimal discovery needs may resolve in 1-2 years. These tend to be cases against individual physicians or small group practices with allegations of clear false billing.

2-4 Years

Many average FCA cases resolve in 2-4 years. These may have more complex schemes but limited discovery needs. Healthcare and government contracting are common areas.

5+ Years

Large multi-district cases against pharmaceutical and device manufacturers often exceed 5+ years. These cases have substantial discovery needs and lengthy pre-trial litigation over complex legal issues.

8-10+ Years

A small portion of cases drag out over 8-10 years or more. These usually have extensive discovery, legal disputes, appeals, and retrials prolonging final resolution.

Recent Examples of FCA Case Lengths

Here are some recent real-world examples of FCA case lengths:

  • In 2022, DaVita settled an FCA case filed in 2015 over alleged kickbacks for $135 million after 7 years of litigation.[1]
  • In 2021, drug maker Mallinckrodt settled an FCA case filed in 2017 over alleged underpayment of Medicaid rebates for $260 million after 4 years.[2]
  • In 2018, Health Management Associates settled an FCA case initially filed in 2009 over alleged kickbacks and false billing for $260 million after 9 years of litigation.[3]

Key Takeaways

While some clear cut FCA cases may resolve in under 2 years, many average 3-7 years to fully resolve. Factors like complexity, discovery needs, settlement talks, and appeals can prolong cases. Pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers often face the longest cases exceeding 5+ years. The government intervening tends to expedite resolution. With patience and persistence, relators and the government may still achieve settlements measured in hundreds of millions of dollars even after many years of fierce litigation.


[1] https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/davita-pay-135-million-resolve-allegations-it-paid-kickbacks-induce-patient-referrals
[2] https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/mallinckrodt-agrees-pay-260-million-resolve-allegations-underpaid-medicaid-rebates
[3] https://www.justice.gov/usao-sc/pr/former-hospital-chain-owner-pay-260-million-resolve-false-billing-and-kickback

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