On August 12, 2021, the Seventh Circuit adopted the position taken by every court of appeals to consider the issue and held that the test for willfulness announced by the Supreme Court in Safeco applies in False Claims Act actions. The decision was a victory for WLF, which filed an amicus brief urging the Seventh Circuit to affirm the District Court’s ruling. WLF explained that applying Safeco in FCA cases provides the necessary due-process protections while advancing Congress’s goal of ensuring companies do not bury their heads in the sand. Moving forward, companies can rest assured that they won’t face treble damages under the FCA for mere negligent conduct.
Note: After the relators filed a cert petition, on August 22, 2022 the Supreme Court called for the views of the Solicitor General.