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DOJ Issues Rule Expanding Authority to Issue Civil Investigative Demands Under the False Claims Act

Government investigations of corporations, officers, and corporate practices often begin with the issuance of civil investigative demands (CIDs), which may seek document production, responses to interrogatories, or sworn deposition testimony. Unlike traditional civil discovery tools, CIDs are employed by the government before litigation has actually commenced. Until recently only the Attorney General could authorize issuance of a CID. On March 24, 2010, however, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) expanded the ability to issue a CID under the False Claims Act (FCA), by delegating that authority to all 93 U.S. Attorneys as well as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. This expansion of authority will provide DOJ leadership with the ability to more quickly act to issue CIDs, and signals a likely significant increase in the use of this potentially potent pre-litigation discovery weapon in anti-fraud enforcement efforts.

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