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2014 California Rules of Court

Rule 2.570. Filing False Claims Act records under seal

(a) Application

Rules 2.570-2.573 apply to records initially filed under seal pursuant to the False Claims Act, Government Code section 12650 et seq. As to these records, rules 2.550-2.551 on sealed records do not apply.

(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(b) Definitions

As used in this chapter, unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires:

(1)"Attorney General" means the Attorney General of the State of California.

(2)"Prosecuting authority" means the county counsel, city attorney, or other local government official charged with investigating, filing, and conducting civil legal proceedings on behalf of or in the name of a particular political subdivision.

(3)"Qui tam plaintiff" means a person who files a complaint under the False Claims Act.

(4)The definitions in Government Code section 12650 apply to the rules in this chapter.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(c) Confidentiality of records filed under the False Claims Act

Records of actions filed by a qui tam plaintiff must initially be filed as confidential and under seal as required by Government Code section 12652(c). Until the seal is lifted, the records in the action must remain under seal, except to the extent otherwise provided in this rule.

(d) Persons permitted access to sealed records in a False Claims Act case

(1)Public access prohibited

As long as the records in a False Claims Act case are under seal, public access to the records in the case is prohibited. The prohibition on public access applies not only to filed documents but also to electronic records that would disclose information about the case, including the identity of any plaintiff or defendant.

(2)Information on register of actions

As long as the records in a False Claims Act case are under seal, only the information concerning filed records contained on the confidential cover sheet prescribed under rule 2.571(c) may be entered into the register of actions that is accessible to the public.

(3)Parties permitted access to the sealed court file

As long as the records in a False Claims Act case are under seal, the only parties permitted access to the court file are:

(A)The Attorney General;

(B)A prosecuting authority for the political subdivision on whose behalf the action is brought, unless the political subdivision is named as a defendant; and

(C)A prosecuting authority for any other political subdivision interested in the matter whose identity has been provided to the court by the Attorney General.

(4)Parties not permitted access to the sealed court file

As long as records in a False Claims Act case are under seal, no defendant is permitted to have access to the court records or other information concerning the case. Defendants not permitted access include any political subdivision that has been named as a defendant in a False Claims Act action.

(5)Qui tam plaintiff's limited access to sealed court file

The qui tam plaintiff in a False Claims Act case may have access to all documents filed by the qui tam plaintiff and to such other documents as the court may order.

(Subd (d) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

Rule 2.570 amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as rule 243.5 effective July 1, 2002.

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