2021 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 27 - Public Assistance
Article 14 - Medicaid False Claims Act
Section 27-14-9 - Award to qui tam plaintiff.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 27-14-9 (2021)

A. If the department proceeds with an action brought by a person pursuant to the Medicaid False Claims Act, the person shall, subject to the limitations in this subsection, receive at least fifteen percent but not more than twenty-five percent of the proceeds of the action or settlement of the claim, depending upon the extent to which the person substantially contributed to the prosecution of the action. Where the action is one that the court finds to be based primarily on disclosures of specific information other than information provided by the party bringing the action relating to allegations or transactions in a criminal, civil or administrative hearing or from the news media, the court shall award a sum as it considers appropriate; provided that the sum does not exceed ten percent of the proceeds and takes into account the significance of the information and the role of the person bringing the action in advancing the case to litigation. A payment to a person pursuant to this subsection shall be made from the proceeds. The person shall also receive an amount for reasonable expenses that the court finds to have been necessarily incurred, plus reasonable attorney fees and costs. In determining the amount of reasonable attorney fees and costs, the court shall consider whether such fees and costs were necessary to the prosecution of the action, were incurred for activities that were duplicative of the activities of the department in prosecuting the case or were repetitious, irrelevant or for purposes of harassment or caused the defendant undue burden or unnecessary expense. All such expenses, fees and costs shall be awarded against the defendant.

B. If the department does not proceed with an action pursuant to the Medicaid False Claims Act, the person bringing the action or settling the claim shall receive an amount that the court decides is reasonable for collecting the civil recovery and damages recoverable by the state. The amount shall be not less than twenty-five percent and not more than thirty percent of the proceeds of the action or settlement and shall be paid out of such proceeds. The person shall also receive an amount for reasonable expenses that the court finds to have been necessarily incurred, plus reasonable attorney fees and costs. In determining the amount of reasonable attorney fees and costs, the court shall consider whether such fees and costs were necessary to the prosecution of the action, were incurred for activities, which were repetitious, irrelevant or for purposes of harassment or caused the defendant undue burden or unnecessary expense. All such expenses, fees and costs shall be awarded against the defendant.

C. Whether or not the department proceeds with the action, if the court finds that the action was brought by a person who planned and initiated the violation upon which the action was brought, then the court may, to the extent the court considers appropriate, reduce the share of the proceeds of the action that the party would otherwise receive pursuant to Subsection A or B of this section, taking into account the role of that person in advancing the case to litigation and any relevant circumstances pertaining to the violation. If the person bringing the action is convicted of criminal conduct arising from the person's role in the violation of the Medicaid False Claims Act, that person 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 state to continue the action represented by the department. If the department does not proceed with the action and the person bringing the action conducts the action, the court may award to the defendant its reasonable attorney fees and costs if the defendant prevails in the action and the court finds that the claim of the party bringing the action was:

(1) filed for an improper purpose;

(2) not warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law; or

(3) was based on allegations or factual contentions not supported.

History: Laws 2004, ch. 49, § 9.

ANNOTATIONS

Effective dates. — Laws 2004, ch. 49 contained no effective date provision, but, pursuant to N.M. Const., art. IV, § 23, was effective May 19, 2004, 90 days after adjournment of the legislature.

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