Lose the Race to the Courthouse and a Good Deed Done Shall Be Your Only Reward: Fifth Circuit Bars Recovery for Whistleblowers in Qui Tam Suit

Oct. 23, 2014
By Tammy B. Scelfo & Jessica S. Allain, Attorneys at Allen & Gooch

Know about fraudulent activity? Planning on blowing the whistle? You better lawyer up and file a qui tam action first; otherwise the Fifth Circuit says you are not entitled to any proceeds from the Government’s recovery.

In a case involving an issue of first impression for the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the court was asked to determine whether relators in a qui tam action filed after the government had instituted criminal proceedings against the defendants could share in the recovery by the government.  In United States ex rel Babalola v. Sharma,[1] the Fifth Circuit held that because relators did not file their qui tam proceeding before the U.S. Government instituted criminal proceedings, they were not entitled to any of the recovery proceeds.[2]

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Parents of Minor Child v. Charlet: A Threat to the Sanctity of Catholic Confession?

Oct. 22, 2014
By Julie Love Taylor, Senior Associate

By now, most Americans are familiar with the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal, in which the Church has been criticized for its handling—or rather, mishandling—of priests who sexually abused minors.[1] Recently, Catholics in Louisiana were reminded of this scandal but with a slightly different twist. In April 2014, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued a decision involving alleged sexual abuse—not by a priest, but by a church parishioner—and a priest’s failure to report that abuse.[2] The Supreme Court’s holding potentially opened the door to a sticky situation: Can a court compel a priest to break the seal of confession when the penitent is a minor alleging sexual abuse.

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Crime, Constitutional Conflicts, and Compensation “Round-Up” into One Complex Case for the 19th JDC

Oct. 21, 2014
By Lauren Rivera, Senior Associate

In April 2013, East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore held a meeting with suspected members of various local violent groups in an effort to dismantle criminal organizations in Louisiana. Among those summoned by Moore were members and associates of the “Big Money Block Boyz,” one of about 30 active street gangs in Baton Rouge, an organization based out of the criminally concentrated Gardere area. The group is believed to be responsible for years of heavy narcotics trafficking, several shootings, and other acts of violence throughout the parish. At the meeting, community leaders and local law enforcement agencies warned members of the Block Boyz that if the group failed to heed their warning and another homicide occurred, the entire group would become the subject of an investigation.[1]

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Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner: Should Louisiana Ante Up to Legalize and Regulate Online Gambling?

Oct. 20, 2014
By Stephen G. Collura, Jr., Senior Editor

We do almost everything on the Internet today. People use the Internet to make purchases, play games, watch movies, and even conduct research for pieces of scholarship. In fact, you are using the Internet to read this article right now. However, if you are in Louisiana, or any state besides Nevada, your other open Internet pages cannot be displaying your winning hand in an online poker game.

In reaction to the wave of Internet gambling[1] that came about during the late 1990s, Congress and several state legislatures, including Louisiana, passed statutes criminalizing online gambling.[2] Although other countries around the world initially took this approach, the United States remains one of the last developed countries to continue to hold steadfast against online gambling[3]—the exceptions being Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.[4]  Many parts of the world have proven that a system of regulation, as opposed to a complete ban, can be successful while still providing protection to participants.[5]

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