Court says FOIA request cannot be used in lawsuit

By the Associated Press | May 16, 2011 | 10:29 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says a Freedom of Information Act request cannot be used to trigger a False Claims Act lawsuit.

The court on Monday agreed with arguments by Schindler Elevator Corp., which sought to get a lawsuit against it dismissed.

Daniel Kirk, a former employee, sued on behalf of the government, claiming Schindler had not complied with reporting requirements involving the employment of Vietnam veterans.

But a judge threw out his lawsuit, saying Kirk's information came from a FOIA request. The False Claims Act says that lawsuits cannot be filed using publicly disclosed information. The judge said FOIA reports were public information.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision but the high court said it was correct.

The case is Schindler Elevator Corp. v United States, 10-188.