Although some courts have found that relators have adequately pled claims in False Claims Act cases to survive motions to dismiss, defendants have had success dismissing certain meritless claims on other grounds. On March 15, 2013, the United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed the case of U.S. ex rel. Lee v. Corinthian Colleges, No. 2:07-cv-01984-PSG-MAN, ECF No. 224 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 15, 2013), on "public disclosure" grounds. Id. at 6-18. The "public disclosure" bar prohibits relators from filing lawsuits that are based upon earlier "public disclosures" of the allegations, provided that they are not the "original source" of the allegations. Upon motions filed by both defendant Corinthian and its auditors, Ernst & Young, the district court held that the relators' allegations of violations of the incentive compensation provision had been previously publicly disclosed and that the relators were not original sources of the information. Id. at 14-15. The relators were not original sources, according to the court, because they had no personal knowledge of the compensation schemes at Corinthian and did not know how Corinthian allegedly violated the incentive compensation ban. Id. at 15-18.
The decision in Lee comes on the back of a similar decision in U.S. ex rel. Leveski v. ITT Educational Services, No. 1:07–cv–0867–TWP–MJD, 2011 WL 3471071 (S.D. Ind. Aug. 8, 2011).* In that case, the district court held that the relator was "not a true whistleblower" because she had no independent knowledge of ITT's employment evaluation and compensation programs, and no knowledge of facts suggesting the necessary element of scienter. Id. at *6-7.
The Leveski case is now up on appeal with the Seventh Circuit. The Seventh Circuit heard oral argument on January 17, 2013.