[661-26] Rights of parties to qui tam actions. (a) If the State proceeds with an action under section 661-25, the State shall have the primary responsibility for prosecuting the action and shall not be bound by an act of the person bringing the action. The person shall have the right to continue as a party to the action, subject to the following limitations:

(1) The State may dismiss the action notwithstanding the objections of the person initiating the action if the court determines, after a hearing on the motion, that dismissal should be allowed;

(2) The State may settle the action with the defendant notwithstanding the objections of the person initiating the action if the court determines, after a hearing, that the proposed settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable. Upon a showing of good cause, the hearing may be held in camera;

(3) The court, upon a showing by the State that unrestricted participation during the course of the litigation by the person initiating the action would interfere with or unduly delay the State's prosecution of the case, or would be repetitious, irrelevant, or for purposes of harassment, may, in its discretion impose limitations on the person's participation by:

(A) Limiting the number of witnesses the person may call;

(B) Limiting the length of the testimony of the witnesses;

(C) Limiting the person's cross-examination of witnesses; or

(D) Otherwise limiting the participation by the person in the litigation.

(b) The defendant, by motion upon the court, may show that unrestricted participation during the course of the litigation by the person initiating the action would be for purposes of harassment or would cause the defendant undue burden or unnecessary expense. At the court's discretion, the court may limit the participation by the person in the litigation.

(c) If the State elects not to proceed with the action, the person who initiated that action shall have the right to conduct the action. If the State 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 State's expense. When a person proceeds with the action, the court without limiting the status and rights of the person initiating the action, may nevertheless permit the State to intervene at a later date upon showing of good cause.

(d) Whether or not the State proceeds with the action, upon motion and a showing by the State that certain actions of discovery by the person initiating the action would interfere with the State's investigation or prosecution of a criminal or civil matter arising out of the same facts, the court may stay the discovery for a period of not more than sixty days. The court may extend the sixty-day period upon a motion and showing by the State that the State has pursued the investigation or prosecution of the criminal or civil matter with reasonable diligence and the proposed discovery would interfere with the ongoing investigation or prosecution of the criminal or civil matter.

(e) Notwithstanding section 661-25, the State may elect to pursue its claim through any alternate remedy available to the State, including any administrative proceedings to determine civil monetary penalties. If any alternate remedy is pursued in another proceeding, the person initiating the action shall have the same rights in the proceedings as the person would have had if the action had continued under this section. Any finding of fact or conclusion of law made in the other proceeding that becomes final shall be conclusive on all parties to an action under this section.

(f) Whether or not the State elects to proceed with the action, the parties to the action shall receive court approval of any settlements reached. [L 2000, c 126, pt of 1]

 

 

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