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HF 290

1st Engrossment - 88th Legislature (2013 - 2014) Posted on 03/11/2013 04:33pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - 1st Engrossment

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A bill for an act
relating to state government; modifying false claims provisions; amending
Minnesota Statutes 2012, sections 15C.01; 15C.02; 15C.05; 15C.08; 15C.12;
15C.13; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 15C;
repealing Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 15C.14.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 15C.01, is amended to read:


15C.01 DEFINITIONS.

Subdivision 1.

Scope.

For purposes of this chapter, the terms in this section have
the meanings given them.

Subd. 2.

Claim.

"Claim" includes a request or demand, whether under a contract or
otherwise, for money or property new text beginand whether or not the state or a political subdivision has
title to the money or property,
new text endthatnew text begin:
new text end

new text begin (1) is presented to an officer, employee, or agent of the state or a political
subdivision; or
new text end

new text begin (2)new text end is made deleted text beginbydeleted text endnew text begin tonew text end a contractor, grantee, or other recipient deleted text beginto the state or a political
subdivision
deleted text end if new text beginthe money or property is to be spent or used on behalf of new text endthe state or the
political subdivisionnew text begin or to advance a state or political subdivision's program or interest,
and if the state or political subdivision provides or
new text end has provided deleted text beginor will providedeleted text end a portion
of the money or property that is requested or demanded, or if the state or the political
subdivision has reimbursed or will reimburse the contractor, grantee, or other recipient for
a portion of the money or property that is requested or demanded.

new text begin Claim does not include requests or demands for money or property that the state
or a political subdivision has paid to an individual as compensation for state or political
subdivision employment, or as an income subsidy with no restrictions on that individual's
use of the money or property.
new text end

Subd. 3.

Knowing and knowingly.

"Knowing" and "knowingly" mean that a
person, with respect to information:

(1) has actual knowledge of the information;

(2) acts in deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information; or

(3) acts in reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information.

No proof of specific intent to defraud is required, but in no case is a person who acts
merely negligently, inadvertently, or mistakenly with respect to information deemed
to have acted knowingly.

new text begin Subd. 3a. new text end

new text begin Material. new text end

new text begin "Material" means having a natural tendency to influence, or be
capable of influencing, the payment or receipt of money or property.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3b. new text end

new text begin Obligation. new text end

new text begin "Obligation" means an established duty, whether or not
fixed, arising from an express or implied contractual, grantor-grantee, or licensor-licensee
relationship from a fee-based or similar relationship, from statute or regulation, or from
the retention of any overpayment.
new text end

Subd. 4.

Original source.

"Original source" means a person who deleted text beginhas direct and
independent knowledge of information that is probative of an essential element of the
allegations in an action brought under this chapter that was not obtained from a public
source and who either voluntarily provided the information to the state or the political
subdivision before bringing an action based on the information or whose information
provided the basis for or caused an investigation, hearing, audit, or report that led to the
public disclosure of the allegations or transactions upon which an action brought under
this chapter is based.
deleted text endnew text begin either:
new text end

new text begin (1) prior to a public disclosure under section 15C.05, paragraph (f), has voluntarily
disclosed to the state or a political subdivision the information on which allegations or
transactions in a claim are based; or
new text end

new text begin (2) has knowledge that is independent of and materially adds to the publicly
disclosed allegations or transactions, and has voluntarily provided the information to the
state or a political subdivision before filing an action under this chapter.
new text end

Subd. 5.

Person.

"Person" means a natural person, partnership, corporation,
association or other legal entity but does not include the state or a political subdivision.

Subd. 6.

Political subdivision.

"Political subdivision" means a political subdivision
of the state and includes a department or agency of a political subdivision.

Subd. 7.

Prosecuting attorney.

"Prosecuting attorney" means:

(1) the attorney general, if the false or fraudulent claim involves money, property, or
services provided by the state; or

(2) the county attorney, city attorney, or other attorney representing a political
subdivision, if the false or fraudulent claim involves money, property, or services provided
by the political subdivision.

Subd. 8.

State.

"State" means the state of Minnesota and includes a department or
agency of the state.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 15C.02, is amended to read:


15C.02 LIABILITY FOR CERTAIN ACTS.

(a) A person who commits any act described in clauses (1) to (7) is liable to the
state or the political subdivision for a civil penalty of not less than $5,500 and not more
than $11,000 per false or fraudulent claim, plus three times the amount of damages that
the state or the political subdivision sustains because of the act of that person, except
as otherwise provided in paragraph (b):

(1) knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, deleted text beginto an officer or employee of the
state or a political subdivision
deleted text end a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;

(2) knowingly makes or uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or
statement deleted text beginto getdeleted text endnew text begin material tonew text end a false or fraudulent claim deleted text beginpaid or approved by the state
or a political subdivision
deleted text end;

(3) knowingly conspires to deleted text begineither present a false or fraudulent claim to the state or a
political subdivision for payment or approval or makes, uses, or causes to be made or used
a false record or statement to obtain payment or approval of a false or fraudulent claim
deleted text endnew text begin commit a violation of clause (1), (2), (4), (5), (6), or (7)new text end;

(4) has possession, custody, or control of deleted text beginpublicdeleted text end property or money used, or to
be used, by the state or a political subdivision and knowingly delivers or causes to be
delivered deleted text beginto the state or a political subdivisiondeleted text end less new text beginthan all of that new text endmoney or property deleted text beginthan
the amount for which the person receives a receipt
deleted text end;

(5) is authorized to deleted text beginpreparedeleted text endnew text begin makenew text end or deliver a new text begindocument certifying new text endreceipt for money
or property used, or to be used, by the state or a political subdivision and deleted text beginknowingly
prepares or delivers a receipt that falsely represents the money or property
deleted text endnew text begin, intending
to defraud the state or a political subdivision, makes or delivers the receipt without
completely knowing that the information on the receipt is true
new text end;

(6) knowingly buys, or receives as a pledge of an obligation or debt, public property
from an officer or employee of the state or a political subdivision who lawfully may
not sell or pledge the property; or

(7) knowingly makes or uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or
statement new text beginmaterial new text endto deleted text beginconceal, avoid, or decreasedeleted text end an obligation to pay or transmit money or
property to the state or a political subdivisionnew text begin, or knowingly conceals or knowingly and
improperly avoids or decreases an obligation to pay or transmit money or property to the
state or a political subdivision
new text end.

(b) new text beginNotwithstanding paragraph (a), new text endthe court may assess not less than two times
the amount of damages that the state or the political subdivision sustains because of the
act of the person if:

(1) the person committing a violation under paragraph (a) furnished an officer or
employee of the state or the political subdivision responsible for investigating the false or
fraudulent claim violation with all information known to the person about the violation
within 30 days after the date on which the person first obtained the information;

(2) the person fully cooperated with any investigation by the state or the political
subdivision of the violation; and

(3) at the time the person furnished the state or the political subdivision with
information about the violation, no criminal prosecution, civil action, or administrative
action had been commenced under this chapter with respect to the violation and the person
did not have actual knowledge of the existence of an investigation into the violation.

(c) A person violating this section is also liable to the state or the political
subdivision for the costs of a civil action brought to recover any penalty or damages.

(d) A person is not liable under this section for mere negligence, inadvertence, or
mistake with respect to activities involving a false or fraudulent claim.

deleted text begin (e) An employer is not liable for an act committed by a nonmanagerial employee
that violates this section, unless the employer had knowledge of the act, ratified the act, or
was reckless in the hiring or supervision of the employee.
deleted text end

deleted text begin (f) Except in cases where proof of specific intent to defraud the state or a political
subdivision is found, a person is not liable under this section if:
deleted text end

deleted text begin (1) the person has been informed by the original source that single or multiple false
or fraudulent claims have been made against the state or a political subdivision; and
deleted text end

deleted text begin (2) the person repays the amount of actual damages to the state or the political
subdivision within 45 days after being so informed. If the person has a compliance office,
an original source is not considered to have informed the person of a false or fraudulent
claim unless the original source reported it to the person's compliance office.
deleted text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 15C.05, is amended to read:


15C.05 PRIVATE REMEDIES; COMPLAINT UNDER SEAL; COPY OF
COMPLAINT AND WRITTEN DISCLOSURE OF EVIDENCE TO BE SENT TO
PROSECUTING ATTORNEY.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person may maintain an action
under this chapter on the person's own account and that of the state deleted text beginif money, property,
or services provided by the state are involved
deleted text end; the person's own account and that of a
political subdivision deleted text beginif money, property, or services provided by the political subdivision
are involved
deleted text end; or on the person's own account and that of both the state and a political
subdivision deleted text beginif both are involveddeleted text end. After an action is commenced, it may be voluntarily
dismissed only if the court and the prosecuting attorney give written consent to the
dismissal and their reasons for consenting.

(b) If an action is brought under this section, no other person may bring another
action under this section based on the same facts that are the subject of the pending action.

(c) An action may not be maintained under this section:

(1) against the state, the legislature, the judiciary, the executive branch, or a political
subdivision, or respective officers, members, or employeesnew text begin if the action is based on
evidence or information known to the state or political subdivision when the action was
brought
new text end;new text begin or
new text end

(2) if the action is based upon allegations or transactions that are the subject of a
civil action or an administrative proceeding for a monetary penalty to which the state or a
political subdivision is already a partydeleted text begin; ordeleted text endnew text begin.
new text end

deleted text begin (3) unless the action is brought by an original source of the information or the
prosecuting attorney initiates or intervenes in the action, if the action is based upon the
public disclosure of allegations or transactions: (i) in a criminal, civil, or administrative
hearing; (ii) in an investigation, report, hearing, or audit conducted by or at the request of
the house of representatives or the senate; (iii) by an auditor or the governing body of a
political subdivision; or (iv) by the news media.
deleted text end

(d) A complaint in an action under this section must be commenced by filing the
complaint with the court in chambers and the court must place it under seal for at least 60
days. No service may be made upon the defendant until the complaint is unsealed.

(e) If a complaint is filed under this section, the plaintiff shall serve a copy of the
complaint on the prosecuting attorney in accordance with the Minnesota Rules of Civil
Procedure and at the same time shall serve a written disclosure of all material evidence
and information the plaintiff possesses.

new text begin (f) A court must dismiss an action or claim under this section, unless opposed by the
prosecuting attorney, if substantially the same allegations or transactions as alleged in the
action or claim were publicly disclosed:
new text end

new text begin (1) in a criminal, civil, or administrative hearing in which the state or the political
subdivision or its agent is a party;
new text end

new text begin (2) in a report, hearing, audit, or investigation of the legislature, the governing body
of a political subdivision, the legislative auditor, or the state auditor; or
new text end

new text begin (3) by the news media.
new text end

new text begin This paragraph does not apply if the action or claim is brought by the prosecuting attorney
or the person bringing the action or claim is an original source of the information.
new text end

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 15C.08, is amended to read:


15C.08 PROSECUTING ATTORNEY AND PRIVATE PARTY ROLES.

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this section, if the prosecuting attorney does not
intervene at the outset in an action brought by a person under section 15C.05, the person
has the same rights in conducting the action as the prosecuting attorney would have. A
copy of each pleading or other paper filed in the action and a copy of the transcript of each
deposition taken must be mailed to the prosecuting attorney if the prosecuting attorney
so requests and pays the cost of doing so.

(b) If the prosecuting attorney elects not to intervene at the outset of the action,
new text beginthe court, without limiting the status and rights of the person initiating the action, may
nevertheless permit
new text endthe prosecuting attorney deleted text beginmaydeleted text endnew text begin tonew text end intervene deleted text beginsubsequentlydeleted text endnew text begin at a later
date
new text end, upon deleted text begintimely application anddeleted text end new text begina showing of new text endgood cause deleted text beginshowndeleted text end. If the prosecuting
attorney so intervenes, the prosecuting attorney subsequently has primary responsibility
for conducting the action.

(c) If the prosecuting attorney elects at the outset of the action to intervene, the
prosecuting attorney has the primary responsibility for prosecuting the action. The person
who initially brought the action remains a party but the person's acts do not bind the
prosecuting attorney.

new text begin (d) If the prosecuting attorney elects to intervene, either at the outset or subsequently,
the prosecuting attorney may file the prosecuting attorney's own complaint or amend the
complaint of the person who initially brought the action to clarify or add details to the
claims in which the prosecuting attorney is intervening and to add any additional claims
with respect to which the prosecuting attorney contends the prosecuting attorney is entitled
to relief. For statute of limitations purposes, any prosecuting attorney pleading relates
back to the filing date of the complaint of the person who originally brought the action, to
the extent that the claim of the prosecuting attorney arises out of the conduct, transactions,
or occurrences set forth, or attempted to be set forth, in the prior complaint of that person.
new text end

deleted text begin (d)deleted text endnew text begin (e)new text end Whether or not the prosecuting attorney intervenes in the action, the
prosecuting attorney may move to dismiss the action for good cause. The person who
brought the action must be notified of the filing of the motion and may oppose it and
present evidence at the hearing. The prosecuting attorney may also settle the action. If
the prosecuting attorney intends to settle the action, the prosecuting attorney shall notify
the person who brought the action. The state or the political subdivision may settle the
action with the defendant notwithstanding the objections of the person initiating the action
if the court determines, after a hearing, that the proposed settlement is fair, adequate,
and reasonable under all the circumstances. Upon a showing of good cause, the hearing
may be held in chambers.

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 15C.12, is amended to read:


15C.12 AWARD OF EXPENSES AND ATTORNEY FEES.

If the prosecuting attorney or a person who brought an action under section 15C.05
prevails in or settles an action under this chapter, the court deleted text beginmay authorizedeleted text endnew text begin shall awardnew text end the
prosecuting attorney or person deleted text beginto recoverdeleted text end reasonable costs, reasonable attorney fees, and
the reasonable fees of expert consultants and expert witnesses. These expenses must
be awarded against the defendant and are not allowed against the state or a political
subdivision. If the prosecuting attorney does not intervene in the action and the person
bringing the action conducts the action and the defendant prevails in the action, the court
shall award to the defendant reasonable expenses and attorney fees against the person
bringing the action if it finds that the action was clearly frivolous or vexatious or brought
in substantial part for harassment. The state or a political subdivision is not liable for
expenses, attorney fees, or other costs incurred by a person in bringing or defending an
action under this chapter.

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 15C.13, is amended to read:


15C.13 DISTRIBUTION TO PRIVATE PLAINTIFF IN CERTAIN ACTIONS.

If the prosecuting attorney intervenes at the outset in an action brought by a person
under section 15C.05, the person is entitled to receive not less than 15 percent or more than
25 percent of any recovery deleted text beginin proportion to the person's contributiondeleted text endnew text begin of the civil penalty
and damages or settlement, depending on the extent to which the person substantially
contributed
new text end to the conduct of the action. If the prosecuting attorney does not intervene in
the action at any time, the person is entitled to receive not less than 25 percent or more
than 30 percent of any recovery of the civil penalty and damages, or settlement, as the
court determines is reasonable. If the prosecuting attorney does not intervene in the action
at the outset but subsequently intervenes, the person is entitled to receive not less than
15 percent or more than 30 percent of any recoverynew text begin of the civil penalty and damages or
settlement
new text end, as the court determines deleted text beginis reasonable based on the person's participation in the
action before the prosecuting attorney intervened
deleted text endnew text begin, depending on the extent to which the
person substantially contributed to the prosecution of the action
new text end. For recoveries whose
distribution is governed by federal code or rule, the basis for calculating the portion of
the recovery the person is entitled to receive shall not include amounts reserved for
distribution to the federal government or designated in their use by federal code or rule.

Sec. 7.

new text begin [15C.145] RELIEF FROM RETALIATORY ACTIONS.
new text end

new text begin (a) An employee, contractor, or agent is entitled to all relief necessary to make that
employee, contractor, or agent whole if that employee, contractor, or agent is discharged,
demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against in
the terms and conditions of employment because of lawful acts done by the employee,
contractor, agent, or associated others in furtherance of an action under this chapter or
other efforts to stop one or more violations of this chapter.
new text end

new text begin (b) Relief under paragraph (a) shall include reinstatement with the same seniority
status that the employee, contractor, or agent would have had but for the discrimination,
two times the amount of back pay, interest on the back pay, and compensation for any
special damages sustained as a result of the discrimination, including litigation costs and
reasonable attorney fees.
new text end

new text begin (c) A civil action under this section may not be brought more than three years after
the date when the retaliation occurred.
new text end

Sec. 8. new text begin REPEALER.
new text end

new text begin Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 15C.14, new text end new text begin is repealed.
new text end