On January 24, 2020, Senior Associate Matthew Turetzky spoke at the New Mexico Health Law Roundtable in Taos. Addressing lawyers, consultants, and professionals from the government, private practice, and in-house roles, Matthew described the keys to swaying the government’s interest in a False Claims Act case long before the parties begin briefing motions and engaging in costly discovery.
“The key to effectively communicating with the government is understanding who from the business is interacting with whom from the government,” Matthew explained. Turning to his co-panelist, Howard Thomas, former Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, Matthew said, “anything I can do to make Howard’s job easier is going to make me a more persuasive advocate for my clients.” He commented, “although most of our communications as outside counsel are with in-house lawyers, it is critically important that outside counsel knows – from the outset of any qui tam suit or investigation – who the key players are in the business and how they interact with the government.”
The False Claims Act has a unique provision that allows the government to dismiss a case brought by a whistleblower. Nearly two years ago, guidance was released from the Department of Justice describing factors that government lawyers should consider when deciding whether to dismiss a case under the federal False Claims Act. This guidance – the so-called Granston Memo. – featured prominently in the panel’s presentation.
Matthew was joined on the panel by his former colleagues David Douglass of Sheppard Mullin and Robert Rhoad of Nichols Liu. He was also joined by Howard Thomas, who recently completed a long tenure at the United States Attorney’s Office in New Mexico. All four lawyers have litigated numerous cases brought under federal and state False Claims Acts.
Matthew’s insight on the panel was well-received by the audience and his co-panelists, who came to the Roundtable from cities as far as Boston, Washington, Nashville, and Dallas. Matthew’s co-panelist and former colleague Robert Rhoad said, “Matt’s knowledge and insight on False Claims Act issues is unmatched. But what is particularly compelling is his pragmatic approach. As demonstrated at the Roundtable, Matt can synthesize government enforcement trends, current case law, and practical experience in a way most lawyers can’t.” Co-panelist Howard Thomas also praised Matt’s approach, noting that Matt “demonstrated his deep understanding of effectively working with the Department of Justice on behalf of the defense in the investigation of FCA matters.” He went on to say that “based upon my many years in handling FCA cases and investigations, Matt’s recommended cooperative and collaborative approach is considerably more effective and efficient than the uncooperative, confrontational strategy often taken by defense counsel; a strategy that frustrates rather than facilitates an early and favorable declination decision.”
Whether you are looking to become a False Claims Act whistleblower or have a False Claims Act lawsuit or investigation to defend, Matthew has litigated numerous cases under the False Claims Act, often obtaining favorable resolutions before discovery. He can be reached at [email protected] and 510-906-4905.