In a recent opinion, the Seventh Circuit joined its sister circuits in holding that under the FCA, a defendant's conduct must proximately cause injury to the government in order to incur liability for that injury. United States v. Luce, No. 16-4093, 2017 WL 4768864 (7th Cir. Oct. 23, 2017). This decision resolves a circuit split that arose in 1992 when the Seventh Circuit parted company with the Third Circuit—the only other circuit at that time to have addressed the issue. At that time, the Seventh Circuit held that the FCA required only a "but-for" standard of causation, meaning that a defendant could be held liable under the FCA even if the Government’s loss was not caused directly by the defendant's conduct so long as the government would not have suffered the loss if not for the defendant's conduct. In addition to the Third Circuit, the other circuits that have since addressed this issue—the Fifth, D.C., and Tenth Circuits—have held that the higher standard of "proximate causation" applies to FCA cases.
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