The federal government has argued that breaking the seal on a False Claims Act case should not require automatic dismissal of that suit, in a U.S. Supreme Court dispute over alleged abuse of the federal flood insurance program. District judges traditionally have broad discretion to decide on the appropriate sanctions for violating court rules and orders, authority which should extend to instances where the automatic seal on a qui tam FCA case has been broken, federal attorneys said in an amicus brief filed Monday, asking the high court to rule against State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. Although the particular seal violations at issue — leaks to a journalist by former attorneys for relators Cori and Kerri Rigsby — were carried out in bad faith, they were “relatively minor” and done without the Rigsbys’ knowledge, and the district court and Fifth Circuit had reasonably determined that the other relevant factors outweighed that bad faith, according to the brief. The Rigsbys are represented by William E. Copley, August J. Matteis Jr., Derek Y. Sugimura, Pamira S. Matteis, Matthew S. Krauss and Timothy M. Belknap of Weisbrod Matteis & Copley PLLC. You can read more about this lawsuit, and this important issue, on Law360’s website: