In National Aeronautics and Space Administration v. Nelson, No. 09-530 (U.S. Jan. 19, 2011) [pdf], the Supreme Court concluded that employees of government contractors can be subjected to the same background checks conducted on federal civil servants, without violating the privacy protections in the Constitution. The decision specifically rejects a challenge to questions about the past use of illegal drugs, including whether prospective contractor employees had previously received treatment or counseling for drug use.
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The False Claims Act encourages individuals with knowledge of fraud against the Government to file a court action seeking damages for the fraud.  It does this by promising a bounty. The relator receives a percentage of the amount recovered in a false claims case.  But there is a constant tension between encouraging plaintiffs to bring cases alleging fraud and protecting defendants from frivolous cases. The January 11, 2011 decision in United States ex rel. Folliard v. Hewlett-Packard Co. illustrates how the requirement that a plaintiff include all of the details of an alleged fraud in the initial complaint helps strike this balance.Continue Reading Hewlett-Packard and the need for “particularity” in qui tam cases