Civil Investigative Demands
Get Sound Legal Advice When Facing a CID or False Claims Act Investigation
If you are a health care professional or businessperson in the medical industry and you have been served with a CID, or Civil Investigative Demand, you need to take immediate action to protect your legal interests.
The stakes are high, and your response to the CID can make a pivotal difference in the course of events that follow.
A Civil Investigative Demand is a formal tool that federal investigators use to gather evidence for a federal civil investigation. They are most commonly issued in connection with False Claims Act (FCA) investigations.
Several years ago, only the U.S. Attorney General could issue a CID in the United States. That changed in 2010, however, when the federal government extended the authority to issue Civil Investigative Demands to all of the 93 U.S. Attorney offices.
Almost immediately, federal investigations into medical providers and government contractors began to increase both in frequency and severity. Today, CIDs have become a common staple of False Claims Act investigations, and a record number of health care professionals are now facing Civil Investigative Demands.
One of the biggest mistakes people make in the face of a CID is taking it lightly. Even if you are only participating in the investigation as a witness, it is not uncommon for witnesses to become targets of the investigation — even if they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong — because they were nonchalant or unprepared when responding to a CID.
You might be surprised by how easy it is to say the wrong thing, or accidentally provide errant responses when participating in CIDs or FCA investigations. An experienced Civil Investigative Demands defense attorney can help you:
- Protect yourself
- Comply with the law
- Avoid worst-case outcomes
Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP focuses its services on federal health care law and can provide federal law services across the country. As former federal prosecutors, we have keen insight into the government’s approach to FCA investigations and other civil and criminal matters pertaining to the medical industry. Our goal is to take effective, aggressive, and strategic action to protect our clients — and we are proud of our record.
Make no mistake: if you receive a Civil Investigative Demand, the federal government is actively investigating you or someone you know. In the latter case, even though it appears that you are not being investigated, the government believes you have valuable information pertaining to the investigation – and this can quickly evolve to implicate you as well.
Do not try to face the federal government alone. Please contact our experienced Civil Investigative Demand lawyers the moment you catch wind of an investigation or receive a CID.
Steps to Take When Responding to a CID
- Contact an experienced attorney. There is no substitute for seasoned, strategic legal guidance during a federal investigation. We can’t emphasize enough that federal agents are not acting on your side, and they do not represent your best interests. But we can represent your best interests. Your responses to the CID are critical, and an attorney can help you respond wisely, truthfully, and effectively without compromising your rights or your legal interests.
- Take immediate steps to protect your documents, emails, etc. Upon being served with a CID request, you are also charged with an important legal duty: you must make every reasonable effort to prevent or avoid the loss of any documents that might be relevant to your ability to respond to the CID. Because CID requests tend to be very broad in scope, this could potentially include a vast number of documents in your personal and professional life — things you might not even think of at first, like old voicemails on your smartphone. You should immediately disable any auto-delete settings on your email, voicemail, cloud storage services, data backup systems, etc. It’s also a good idea to train everyone in your office to avoid accidentally deleting or throwing away any files or equipment.
- Get a sense of scope. In a typical case, the recipient of a CID request will initially have no idea of only just how broad and overwhelming the request really is. CID language tends to be purposely nonspecific, thereby potentially implicating an overwhelming quantity of documents. It’s important to get a sense of just how much time and effort your response will require early on so you can plan who you will meet the requirements of the Demand. In some cases, you might be able to get an extension for your response. A Civil Investigative Demands attorney can help you negotiate an extension if possible.
- Get a game plan together. You need to be ready to answer the government’s questions, which means you need to prepare extensively. This will take a lot of your time, attention, and resources until the CID process is over. There is simply no way around that fact. You may also require the efforts of your office or work team to ready your response. It’s important that your lawyers review each and every document before it’s submitted to the government, so you will need to prepare for the CID well in advance to allow sufficient time for review.
Do You Have to Respond?
Yes. Once served with a Civil Investigative Demand, you are legally required to respond. You cannot ignore a CID request.
What Can CIDs Ask For?
Civil Investigative Demands may ask for either documents or information. You will have a duty to supply both to the best of your ability. Specifically, the federal government’s request might include demands for:
- Written interrogatories (your formal, written answers to their many questions, which can be vague and broad)
- Oral testimony under oath (similar to depositions in civil litigation)
- The production of documentary materials or equipment (including physical and virtual documents, as well as electronic data storage equipment, etc.)
Are CIDs Criminal in Nature?
As the name implies, Civil Investigative Demands are issued as part of federal civil investigations. However, the process can have a number of implications in criminal law as well, and it’s important that anyone involved in a CID or a False Claims Act investigation be aware of them.
For example, the office conducting the CID can — and sometimes will — share the information it finds during its investigation with other federal agencies, including those that conduct criminal investigations pertaining to health care. In this way, a civil health care investigation can trigger a criminal one.
Additionally, responding untruthfully to a CID request can result in criminal perjury charges. Failure to comply with or respond to the CID can also end in charges.
Are CIDs Exclusive to the Health Care Industry?
No. While CIDs are most common in highly federally regulated industries like health care, it is possible for almost any business to receive one. In fact, we have seen CIDs served on businesses that essentially have nothing to do with health care (or any other regulated industry, for that matter).
Typically, this happens in one of two ways.
- Your business has had dealings with a person or a company that is under investigation, and the federal government believes your business may be able to provide relevant documents or information.
- Your business is under investigation for some other matter, and the relevant U.S. Attorney’s office has decided that a CID (because of its broad and powerful reach) is a useful tool for its investigation.
While Civil Investigative Demands are especially common in the health care industry because of their usefulness in False Claims Act matters, anyone served with a CID should treat their response with the same level of urgency and seriousness.
Our attorneys have experienced in CID response matters and law and as such our attorneys at Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP can help your organization throughout the process, regardless of the field you might work in.
How Can a CID Response Attorney Help?
Your legal representative can play many roles in preparing you and your organization for a Civil Investigative Demand response. These include:
- Helping you to understand the extent of the information and documentation that is required
- Advising you, based on experience, of all the steps you need to take to avoid accidentally breaching your legal duties
- Reviewing all documents you submit to the government for relevancy, sufficiency, and to identify any complications they might cause you before you submit them
- Guiding you on how to do everything you’re required to do without going beyond what is required of you
- Coaching you prior to a deposition so that you give careful, cautious, truthful, and legally compliant responses
- Assessing whether you might need to be concerned about any criminal implications from the civil investigation
- Representing you in talks and negotiations with investigators
- Representing you if you become the target of a FCA investigation or other federal investigation
- Handling any other legal complications that arise in the course of the CID process, as they often do
Can In-House Corporate Counsel Handle the CID Response?
While there is no rule prohibiting you from using in-house corporate counsel for your CID response (and for that matter, there is no rule requiring you to use an attorney at all), it is in your best interest to work with lawyers who have extensive experience specifically in CID cases.
Civil Investigative Demands and FCA investigations are complex and specific legal matters. There is no substitute for experience. An otherwise good attorney might not be able to adequately foresee potential issues or complications unless they have had direct experience with these matters in the past.
Take CIDs Seriously. Respond Quickly. Take Action Now. Contact Our Office.
The critical takeaway from this web page is that anyone facing a Civil Investigative Demand should appreciate the seriousness of their situation. The biggest mistakes you can make are waiting too long, failing to prepare, failing to respond, or approaching the request too casually. And the consequences can be dire.
Don’t face federal investigators by yourself. Get seasoned legal experience on your side.
Our lawyers with significant Civil Investigative Demand experience are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week — yes, even on weekends — to talk about your case and how we might help. Please contact us as soon as possible.
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CID Defense Experienced Attorneys – Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP