State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_1 > GS_1-609

§ 1‑609.  Rights of theparties to qui tam actions.

(a)        If the Stateproceeds with an action under G.S. 1‑608(b), it shall have the primaryresponsibility for prosecuting the action and shall not be bound by an act ofthe qui tam plaintiff. The qui tam plaintiff shall have the right to continueas a party to the action, subject to the limitations set forth in subsections(b) through (e) of this section.

(b)        The State maydismiss the action for good cause notwithstanding the objections of the qui tamplaintiff if the qui tam plaintiff has been notified by the State of the filingof the motion and the court has provided the qui tam plaintiff with anopportunity for a hearing on the motion.

(c)        The State maysettle the action with the defendant, notwithstanding the objections of the quitam plaintiff, if the court determines, after a hearing, that the proposedsettlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable under all the circumstances. Upona showing of good cause, the hearing may be heard in camera.

(d)        Upon a showing bythe State that the qui tam plaintiff's unrestricted participation during thecourse of the litigation would interfere with or unduly delay the State'sprosecution of the case or would be repetitious, irrelevant, or for purposes ofharassment, the court may, in its discretion, impose limitations on theperson's participation, such as any of the following:

(1)        Limiting the numberof witnesses the qui tam plaintiff may call.

(2)        Limiting the lengthof the testimony of those witnesses.

(3)        Limiting the qui tamplaintiff's cross‑examination of witnesses.

(4)        Otherwise limitingthe participation by the qui tam plaintiff in the litigation.

(e)        Upon a showing bythe defendant that the qui tam plaintiff's unrestricted participation duringthe course of the litigation would be for purposes of harassment or would causethe defendant undue burden or unnecessary expense, the court may limit theparticipation by the qui tam plaintiff in the litigation.

(f)         If the Stateelects not to proceed with the action, the qui tam plaintiff shall have theright to conduct the action. If the State so requests, it shall be served withcopies of all pleadings filed in the action and shall be supplied with copiesof all deposition transcripts at the State's expense. When a qui tam plaintiffproceeds with the action, the court, without limiting the status and rights ofthe qui tam plaintiff, may permit the State to intervene at a later date upon ashowing of good cause.

(g)        Whether or not theState proceeds with the action, upon a showing by the State that certainactions of discovery by the qui tam plaintiff would interfere with the State'sinvestigation or prosecution of a criminal or civil matter arising out of thesame facts, the court may stay such discovery for a period of not more than 120days. Such a showing shall be conducted in camera. The court may extend the 120‑dayperiod upon a further showing in camera that the State has pursued the criminalor civil investigation or proceedings with reasonable diligence and any proposeddiscovery in the civil action will interfere with the ongoing criminal or civilinvestigations or proceedings.

(h)        Notwithstanding theprovisions of G.S. 1‑608(b), the State may elect to pursue its claimthrough any alternate remedy available to the State, including anyadministrative proceeding to determine a civil money penalty. If any suchalternate remedy is pursued in another proceeding, the qui tam plaintiff shallhave the same rights in that proceeding as the qui tam plaintiff would have hadif the action had continued under this section. Any finding of fact orconclusion of law made in the other proceeding that has become final shall beconclusive on all parties to an action under this section. For purposes of thissubsection, a finding or conclusion is final if it has been finally determinedon appeal to the appropriate court of the State, if all time for filing such anappeal with respect to the finding or conclusion has expired, or if the findingor conclusion is not subject to judicial review.  (2009‑554, s. 1.)