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Massachusetts False Claims Act
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The Massachusetts False Claims Act is modeled on the federal False Claims Act, and cases brought under one statute are often brought in conjunction with claims under the other. Violation of the Massachusetts False Claims Act exposes an individual for civil penalties up to three times the total damages to the state. Further, the Act imposes civil penalties ranging between $5,000 – $10,000 for each individual false claim in violation of the Act.
A private individual with direct knowledge of a Massachusetts False Claims Act violation is authorized to file a suit under the Act’s qui tam provisions. The qui tam relator, often referred to as a “whistleblower,” may proceed with the action regardless of whether the government chooses to intervene.
Whistleblowers involved in successful judgments or settlements may receive up to 25 percent of the civil penalties recovered by the state government. If the state government has chosen not to intervene, the whistleblower may receive up to 30 percent of the available recovery. Further, the Act provides the whistleblower with protection against employer retaliation, offering reinstatement, double back pay and benefits with interest, and compensation for any special damages including attorneys’ fees if the employee disclosues information to the government or otherwise acts in furtherence of an investegation or action under the statute..
Persons with information about fraud on the state of Massachusetts are urged to preserve their rights by consulting an attorney and filing a case as soon as possible. A disclosure to the Massachusetts state government pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws c. 12 §§ 5A and 5G(3) may preserve a person’s rights as an original source of the information about fraud.
As of August 2013, the text of the state FCA statute below is believed to be a complete, current version of the statute currently in force. Nonetheless, attorneys and qui tam relators should rely on the most up to date version of the state’s laws.
Massachusetts False Claims Act
Mass. Gen. Laws c. 12 5C(3)
(a) For the purposes of this section, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meaning:-
“Claim”, any request or demand, whether pursuant to a contract or otherwise, for money or property which is made to an officer, employee, agent or other representative of the commonwealth, political subdivision thereof or to a contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or other person if the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof provides any portion of the money or property which is requested or demanded, or if the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof will reimburse directly or indirectly such contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or other person for any portion of the money or property which is requested or demanded.
“False claims law”, pursuant to sections 5B to 5O, inclusive.
“False claims action”, an action filed by the office of the attorney general or a relator pursuant to this section.
“Knowing and knowingly”, possessing actual knowledge of relevant information, acting with deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information or acting in reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information and no proof of specific intent to defraud is required.
“Original source”, an individual who has direct and independent knowledge of the information on which the allegations are based and has voluntarily provided the information to the attorney general, without public disclosure, before filing an action under this section which is based on such information.
“Person”, any natural person, corporation, partnership, association, trust or other business or legal entity.
“Political subdivision”, any city, town, county or other governmental entity authorized or created by state law, including public corporations and authorities.
“Relator”, an individual who brings an action under paragraph (2) of section 5C.
Any person who:
(1) knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;
(2) knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement to obtain payment or approval of a claim by the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof;
(3) conspires to defraud the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof through the allowance or payment of a fraudulent claim;
(4) has possession, custody, or control of property or money used, or to be used, by the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof and knowingly delivers, or causes to be delivered to the commonwealth, less property than the amount for which the person receives a certificate or receipt with the intent to willfully conceal the property;
(5) is authorized to make or deliver a document certifying receipt of property used, or to be used, by the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof and with the intent of defrauding the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof, makes or delivers the receipt without completely knowing that the information on the receipt is true;
(6) buys, or receives as a pledge of an obligation or debt, public property from an officer or employee of the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof, knowing that said officer or employee may not lawfully sell or pledge the property;
(7) enters into an agreement, contract or understanding with one or more officials of the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof knowing the information contained therein is false;
(8) knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement to conceal, avoid, or decrease an obligation to pay or to transmit money or property to the commonwealth or political subdivision thereof; or
(9) is a beneficiary of an inadvertent submission of a false claim to the commonwealth or political subdivision thereof, subsequently discovers the falsity of the claim, and fails to disclose the false claim to the commonwealth or political subdivision within a reasonable time after discovery of the false claim shall be liable to the commonwealth or political subdivision for a civil penalty of not less than $5,000 and not more than $10,000 per violation, plus three times the amount of damages, including consequential damages, that the commonwealth or political subdivision sustains because of the act of that person. A person violating sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, shall also be liable to the commonwealth or any political subdivision for the expenses of the civil action brought to recover any such penalty or damages, including without limitation reasonable attorney’s fees, reasonable expert’s fees and the costs of investigation, as set forth below. Costs recoverable under said sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, shall also include the costs of any review or investigation undertaken by the attorney general, or by the state auditor or the inspector general in cooperation with the attorney general.
(10) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (1) to (9), inclusive, if the court finds that:
(i) the person committing the violation of said paragraphs (1) to (9) furnished an official of the office of the attorney general responsible for investigating false claims law violations with all the information known to such person about the violation within 30 days after the date on which the person first obtained the information;
(ii) such person fully cooperated with any commonwealth investigation of such violation; and
(iii) at the time such person furnished the commonwealth with the information about the violation, no civil action or administrative action had commenced under sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, or no criminal prosecution had commenced with respect to such violation, and such person did not have actual knowledge of the existence of an investigation into such violation, the court may reduce the assessment of damages to the amount of damages, including consequential damages, that the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof sustains because of the act of a person.
(11) A corporation, partnership or other person is liable to the commonwealth under sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, for the acts of its agent where the agent acted with apparent authority, regardless of whether the agent acted, in whole or in part, to benefit the principal and regardless of whether the principal adopted or ratified the agent’s claims, representation, statement or other action or conduct.
(12) Sections 5B to 5O, inclusive shall not apply to claims, records or statements made or presented to establish, limit, reduce, or evade liability for the payment of tax to the commonwealth, or any other governmental authority.
(13) A person who has engaged in conduct described in paragraphs (1) to (9), inclusive, prior to payment shall only be entitled to payment from the commonwealth of the actual amount due less the excess amount falsely or fraudulently claimed.
(1) The attorney general shall investigate violations under sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, involving state funds or funds from any political subdivision. If the attorney general finds that a person has violated or is violating said sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, the attorney general may bring a civil action in superior court against the person.
(2) An individual, hereafter referred to as relator, may bring a civil action in superior court for a violation of said sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, on behalf of the relator and the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof. The action shall be brought in the name of the commonwealth or the political subdivision thereof. The action may be dismissed only if the attorney general gives written reasons for consenting to the dismissal and the court approves the dismissal. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, it shall not be a cause for dismissal or a basis for a defense that the relator could have brought another action based on the same or similar facts under any other law or administrative proceeding.
(3) When a relator brings an action pursuant to said sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, a copy of the complaint and written disclosure of substantially all material evidence and information the relator possesses shall be served on the attorney general pursuant to Rule 4(d)(3) of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure. The complaint shall be filed under seal and shall remain so for 120 days. Notwithstanding any other general or special law or procedural rule to the contrary, service on the defendant shall not be required until the period provided in paragraph (5). The attorney general may, for good cause shown, ask the court for extensions of no more than 90 days during which the complaint shall remain under seal. Any such motions may be supported by affidavits or other submissions under seal. The court shall not grant more than two requests for extensions unless the attorney general can demonstrate extraordinary circumstances requiring a further extension. The attorney general may elect to intervene and proceed with the action on behalf of the commonwealth or political subdivision within the 120 day period or during any extension, after he receives both the complaint and the material evidence and information. Any information or documents furnished by the relator to the attorney general in connection with an action or investigation under said sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, shall be exempt from disclosure under section 10 of chapter 66.
(4) Before the expiration of the initial 120 day period or any 90 day extensions obtained under paragraph (3), the attorney general shall; (i) assume control of the action, in which case the action shall be conducted by the attorney general; or (ii) notify the court that he declines to take over the action, in which case the relator shall have the right to conduct the action.
(5) If the attorney general decides to proceed with the action, the complaint shall be unsealed and served promptly thereafter. The defendant shall not be required to respond to any complaint filed under said sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, until 20 days after the complaint is unsealed and served upon the defendant pursuant to rule 4 of the Massachusetts rules of civil procedure.
(6) When a relator brings an action pursuant to this section, no person other than the attorney general may intervene or bring a related action based on the facts underlying the pending action.
(1) If the attorney general proceeds with the action, he shall have primary responsibility for prosecuting the action, and shall not be bound by any act of the relator. The relator shall have the right to continue as a party to the action, subject to the limitations in sections 5B to 5O, inclusive.
(2) The attorney general may dismiss the action notwithstanding the objections of the relator if the relator has been notified by the attorney general of the filing of the motion and the court has provided the relator with an opportunity for a hearing on the motion. Upon a showing of good cause, such hearing may be held in camera.
(3) The attorney general may settle the action with the defendant notwithstanding the objections of the relator if the court determines, after a hearing, that the proposed settlement is fair, adequate and reasonable under all the circumstances. Upon a showing of good cause, such hearing may be held in camera.
(4) Upon a showing by the attorney general that unrestricted participation during the course of the litigation by the relator initiating the action would interfere with or unduly delay the attorney general’s prosecution of the case, or would be repetitious, irrelevant or for purposes of harassment, the court may, in its discretion, impose limitations on the relator’s participation, including but not limited to: (i) limiting the number of witnesses the relator may call; (ii) limiting the length of the testimony of such witnesses; (iii) limiting the relator’s cross examination of witnesses; or (iv) otherwise limiting the participation by the relator in the litigation.
(5) Upon a showing by the defendant that unrestricted participation during the course of the litigation by the relator would be for purposes of harassment or would cause the defendant undue burden or unnecessary expense, the court may limit the participation by the relator in the litigation.
(6) If the attorney general elects not to proceed with the action, the relator who initiated the action shall have the right to conduct the action. If the attorney general so requests, it shall be served with copies of all pleadings filed in the action and shall be supplied with copies of all deposition transcripts at the attorney general’s expense. When a relator proceeds with the action, the court, without limiting the status and rights of the relator initiating the action, may nevertheless permit the attorney general to intervene at a later date upon a showing of good cause.
(7) Whether or not the attorney general proceeds with the action, upon a showing by the attorney general that certain acts of discovery by the relator initiating the action would interfere with the attorney general’s investigation or prosecution of a criminal or civil matter arising out of the same or similar facts, the court may stay such discovery for a period of not more than 60 days. Such showing by the attorney general shall be conducted in camera. The court may extend the 60 day period upon a further showing in camera that the attorney general has pursued the criminal or civil investigation or proceedings with reasonable diligence and may stay any proposed discovery in the civil action that will interfere with the ongoing criminal or civil investigations or proceedings.
Notwithstanding the provisions of section 5C, the attorney general may elect to pursue its claim through any alternate remedy available to the attorney general, including any administrative proceeding, to determine a civil penalty. If any such alternate remedy is pursued in another proceeding, a relator shall have the same rights in such proceeding as said relator would have had if the action had continued under said section 5C. Any finding of fact or conclusion of law made in such other proceeding that has become final shall be conclusive on all parties to an action under sections 5B to 5O, inclusive. For purposes of this section, a finding or conclusion is final if it has been finally determined on appeal to the appropriate court of the commonwealth, if all time for filing such an appeal with respect to the finding or conclusion has expired, or if the finding or conclusion is not subject to judicial review.
(1) If the attorney general proceeds with an action brought by a relator pursuant to section 5C, the relator shall receive at least 15 per cent but not more than 25 per cent of the proceeds recovered and collected in the action or in settlement of the claim depending upon the extent to which the relator substantially contributed to the prosecution of the action.
(2) Where the action is one which the court finds to be based primarily on disclosures of specific information, other than information provided by the relator, relating to allegations or transactions in a criminal, civil, or administrative hearing; in a legislative, administrative, auditor or inspector general hearing, audit, or investigation; or from the news media, the court may award such sums as it considers appropriate, but in no case more than 10 per cent of the proceeds, taking into account the significance of the information and the role of the relator bringing the action in advancing the case to litigation.
(3) Any payment to a relator pursuant to this section shall be made only from the proceeds recovered and collected in the action or in settlement of the claim. Any such relator shall also receive an amount for reasonable expenses which the court finds to have been necessarily incurred, including reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. All such expenses, shall be awarded against the defendant.
(4) If the attorney general does not proceed with an action pursuant to section 5C, the relator bringing the action or settling the claim shall receive an amount which the court decides is reasonable for collecting the civil penalty and damages on behalf of the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof. The amount shall be not less than 25 per cent nor more than 30 per cent of the proceeds recovered and collected in the action or settlement of the claim, and shall be paid out of such proceeds. The relator shall also receive an amount for reasonable expenses which the court finds to have been necessarily incurred, including reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. All such expenses shall be awarded against the defendant.
(5) Whether or not the attorney general proceeds with the action, if the court finds that the action was brought by a relator who planned, initiated or knowingly participated in the violation of sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, then the court may, to the extent the court considers appropriate, reduce or eliminate the share of the proceeds of the action which the relator would otherwise receive pursuant to paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, taking into account the role of the relator in advancing the case to litigation and any relevant circumstances pertaining to the violation. If the relator bringing the action is convicted of criminal conduct arising from his role in the violation of this section, the relator shall be dismissed from the civil action and shall not receive any share of the proceeds of the action. Such dismissal shall not prejudice the right of the attorney general to continue the action.
(1) No court shall have jurisdiction over an action brought pursuant to section 5C against the governor, lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the treasurer, secretary of state, the auditor, a member of the general court, the inspector general or a member of the judiciary, if the action is based on evidence or information known to the commonwealth when the action was brought.
(2) An individual may not bring an action pursuant to paragraph (2) of said section 5C that is based upon allegations or transactions which are the subject of a civil suit or an administrative proceeding in which the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof is already a party.
(3) No court shall have jurisdiction over an action pursuant to sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, based upon the public disclosure of allegations or transactions in a criminal, civil or administrative hearing; in a legislative, administrative, auditor’s or inspector general’s report, hearing, audit or investigation; or from the news media, unless the action is brought by the attorney general, or the relator is an original source of the information. No court shall have jurisdiction over an action pursuant to said sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, brought by a person who knew or had reason to know that the attorney general, the state auditor or the inspector general already had knowledge of the situation.
(4) An individual who is or was employed by the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof as an auditor, investigator, attorney, financial officer, or contracting officer who otherwise performed such functions for the commonwealth or who discovered or learned of the allegations or the underlying facts from such persons, may not bring an action pursuant paragraph (2) of section 5C that is based upon allegations or transactions that the relator discovered or learned of in such capacity. For the purposes of this paragraph, the term “in such capacity” shall refer to any matter within the scope of such person’s duties or job description.
(1) All money recovered by the commonwealth, as a result of actions brought by the attorney general or a person pursuant to sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, other than costs and attorney’s fees awarded pursuant to paragraph (2), shall be credited by the state treasurer to the False Claims Prosecution Fund, established by section 2YY of chapter 29.
(2) Costs and attorney’s fees awarded to a relator by final judicial order in an action under this section shall be paid directly by the defendant to the relator.
(1) If the attorney general initiates an action or assumes control of an action brought by a person pursuant to sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, the attorney general shall be awarded his reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses incurred in the litigation, including costs, if he prevails in the action. Any such award shall be deposited in the False Claims Prosecution Fund established by said section 2YY of said chapter 29.
(2) If the attorney general does not proceed with an action pursuant to sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, and the defendant is the prevailing party, the court may award the defendant reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs against the relator upon a written finding that such action was pursued in bad faith or was wholly insubstantial, frivolous, and advanced for the purpose of causing the defendant undue burden, unnecessary expense or harassment.
(3) No liability shall be incurred by the commonwealth, the affected agency or the attorney general for any expenses, attorney’s fees or other costs incurred by any person in bringing or defending an action under said sections 5B to 5O, inclusive.
(1) No employer shall make, adopt or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy preventing an employee from disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency or from acting to further a false claims action, including investigating, initiating, testifying, or assisting in an action filed or to be filed pursuant to said sections 5B to 5O, inclusive. No employer shall require as a condition of employment, during the term of employment, or at the termination of employment, that any employee agree to, accept or sign any agreement that limits or denies the employee’s rights to bring an action or provide information to a government or law enforcement agency pursuant to said sections 5B to 5O, inclusive. Any such agreement shall be void.
(2) No employer shall discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, deny promotion to, or in any other manner discriminate against an employee in the terms or conditions of employment because of lawful acts done by the employee on behalf of the employee or others in disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency or in furthering a false claims action, including investigation for, initiation of, testimony for, or assistance in an action filed or to be filed pursuant to sections 5B to 5O, inclusive.
(3) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, an employer who violates paragraph (2) shall be liable for such damages or equitable relief as a court shall deem appropriate, including: reinstatement with the same seniority status such employee would have had but for the employer’s violation of sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, two times the amount of back pay, interest on the back pay, and compensation for any special damage sustained as a result of the employer’s violation of said sections 5B to 5O, inclusive. In addition, the defendant shall be required to pay litigation costs and reasonable attorney’s fees. An employee may bring an action in the appropriate superior court or the superior court of the county of Suffolk for the relief provided in this section.
(4) An employee who is discharged, demoted, suspended, harassed, denied promotion, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment by his employer because of participation in conduct which directly or indirectly resulted in a false claim being submitted to the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof shall be entitled to the remedies pursuant to paragraph (3) only if both of the following occurred:
(i) the employee has been harassed, threatened with termination or demotion, or otherwise coerced by the employer or its management into engaging in the fraudulent activity in the first place; and
(ii) the employee voluntarily disclosed information prior to being dismissed to a government or law enforcement agency or acts in furtherance of a false claims action, including investigation for, initiation of, testimony for, or assistance in an action filed or to be filed.
(1) A civil action pursuant to sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, for a violation of section 5B may not be brought (i) more than six years after the date on which the violation occurred; or (ii) more than three years after the date when facts material to the right of action are known or reasonably should have been known by the official within the office of the attorney general charged with responsibility to act in the circumstances, but in no event more than ten years after the date on which the violation is committed, whichever occurs last. A civil action pursuant to sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, may be brought for acts or omissions that occurred prior to the effective date of this section, subject to the limitations period set forth in this section.
(2) Notwithstanding any other law or rule of procedure or evidence, a final judgment rendered in favor of the commonwealth in any criminal proceeding charging fraud or false statements, whether upon a verdict after trial or upon a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, shall estop the defendant from denying the essential elements of the offense in any action which involves the same act, transaction or occurrence as in the criminal proceedings and which is brought under section 5B.
In any action brought pursuant to sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, the party bringing the action shall be required to prove all essential elements of the cause of action, including damages, by a preponderance of the evidence.
Section 5M. The attorney general may promulgate any rules, regulations or guidelines that, in the attorney general’s judgment, are necessary and appropriate to the effective administration of this chapter.
(1) Notwithstanding any general or special law, procedural rule or regulation to the contrary, the attorney general, whenever he has reason to believe that any person may be in possession, custody or control of any documentary material or information relevant to a false claims law investigation, may, before commencing a civil proceeding under sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, issue in writing and cause to be served upon such person, a civil investigative demand requiring such person (i) to produce such documentary material for inspection and copying; (ii) to answer written interrogatories, in writing and under oath; (iii) to give oral testimony under oath; or (iv) to furnish any combination of such material, answers or testimony.
(2) Service of any such demand may be made by (i) delivering a copy thereof to the person to be served or to a partner or to any officer or agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process on behalf of such person; (ii) delivering a copy thereof to the principal place of business in the commonwealth of the person to be served; or (iii) mailing by registered or certified mail a copy thereof addressed to the person to be served at the principal place of business in the commonwealth or, if said person has no place of business in the commonwealth, to his principal office or place of business.
(3) Each such demand requesting documentary material or oral testimony shall (i) state the time and place of the taking of testimony or the examination and the name and address of each person to be examined, if known, and, if the name is not known, a general description sufficient to identify the person or the particular class or group to which the person belongs; (ii) state the nature of the conduct constituting the alleged violation of a false claims law which is under investigation, and the applicable provision of law alleged to be violated; (iii) describe the class or classes of documentary material to be produced thereunder with such definiteness and certainty as to permit such material to be fairly identified; (iv) prescribe a return date within which the documentary material is to be produced; (v) identify the members of the attorney general’s staff to whom such documentary material is to be made available for inspection and copying; and (vi) if such demand is for the giving of oral testimony, notify the person receiving the demand of the right to be accompanied by an attorney and any other representative, prescribe a date, time and place at which oral testimony shall be commenced, identify the assistant attorney general who shall conduct the examination and to whom the transcript of such examination shall be submitted, specify that such attendance and testimony are necessary to the conduct of the investigation, and describe the general purpose for which the demand is being issued and the general nature of the testimony, including the primary areas of inquiry, which will be taken pursuant to the demand. Notice of the time and place of taking oral testimony shall be given by the attorney general at least ten days prior to the date of such taking of testimony or examination, unless the attorney general or an assistant attorney general designated by the attorney general determines that exceptional circumstances are present which warrant such taking of testimony within a lesser period of time.
(4) The oral examination of all persons pursuant to sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, shall be conducted before a person duly authorized to administer oaths by the law of the commonwealth. Rule 30(e) of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure shall be applicable to oral examinations conducted pursuant to said sections 5B to 5O, inclusive.
(5) Any person compelled to appear for oral testimony under a civil investigative demand issued under said sections 5B to 5O may be accompanied, represented and advised by counsel. Counsel may advise such person, in confidence, with respect to any question asked of such person. Such person or counsel may object on the record to any question, in whole or in part, and shall briefly state for the record the reason for the objection. An objection may be made, received, and entered upon the record when it is claimed that such person is entitled to refuse to answer the question on the grounds of any constitutional or other legal right or privilege, including the privilege against self-incrimination. Such person may not otherwise object to or refuse to answer any question, and may not directly or through counsel otherwise interrupt the oral examination. If such person refuses to answer any question, a motion may be filed for an order compelling such person to answer such question.
(6) The production of documentary material in response to a civil investigative demand served under sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, shall be made under a sworn certificate, in such form as the demand designates, by (i) in the case of a natural person, the person to whom the demand is directed, or (ii) in the case of a person other than a natural person, a person having knowledge of the facts and circumstances relating to such production and authorized to act on behalf of such person. The certificate shall state that all of the documentary material required by the demand and in the possession, custody or control of the person to whom the demand is directed has been produced and made available to the members of the attorney general’s staff identified in the demand.
(7) Each written interrogatory served under sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, shall be answered separately and fully in writing under the penalties of perjury. The person upon whom the interrogatories have been served shall serve the answers and objections, if any, upon the attorney general within 14 days after service of the interrogatories.
(8) Any documentary material or other information produced by any person pursuant to sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, shall not, unless otherwise ordered by a justice of the superior court for good cause shown, be disclosed to any person other than the authorized agent or representative of the attorney general and any officer or employee of the commonwealth who is working under their direct supervision with respect to the false claims law investigation, unless with the consent of the person producing the same. Such documentary material or information may be disclosed by the attorney general in court proceedings or in papers filed in court. Nothing in this section shall preclude the attorney general from disclosing information and evidence secured pursuant to sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, to officials of the United States, the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof charged with responsibility for enforcement of federal, state or local laws respecting fraud or false claims upon federal, state or local governments. Prior to any such disclosure the attorney general shall obtain a written agreement from such officials to abide by the restrictions of this section.
(9) At any time prior to the date specified in the civil investigative demand, or within 21 days after the demand has been served, whichever period is shorter, the court may, upon motion for good cause shown, extend such reporting date or modify or set aside such demand or grant a protective order in accordance with the standards set forth in Rule 26(c) of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure. The motion may be filed in the superior court of the county in which the person served resides or has his usual place of business, or in Suffolk county.
(10) Whenever any person fails to comply with any civil investigative demand issued under sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, the attorney general may file, in the superior court of the county in which such person resides, is found, or transacts business, a motion for the enforcement of the civil investigative demand. The Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure shall apply to any such motion. Any final order entered pursuant to such petition may also include the assessment of a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for each act or instance of noncompliance.
(11) All such information and documentary materials as are obtained by the attorney general pursuant to sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, shall not be public records and are exempt from disclosure under section 10 of chapter 66 or any other law.
(12) For purposes of sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, “documentary material” shall include the original or any copy of any book, record, report, memorandum, paper, communication, tabulation, chart or other document or graphic representation, or data stored in or accessible through a computer or other information retrieval systems, together with instructions and all other materials necessary to use or interpret such data.
(13) Nothing in sections 5B to 5O, inclusive, shall be construed to authorize the attorney general to compel the production of information or documents from the state auditor or from the inspector general, unless otherwise authorized by law. Nothing in this chapter shall bar the attorney general from referring matters or disclosing information or documents to the state auditor or to the inspector general for purposes or any review or investigation they may deem appropriate.
Nothing in sections 5B to 5M, inclusive, shall be construed to relieve an agency of its reporting requirements regarding matters within that agency under chapter 647 of the acts of 1989.
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