News Archives

Liberty Law professor cited by federal court


September 26, 2018

On September 4, 2018, a federal district court in North Carolina cited a law review article authored by Liberty Law professor Joel D. Hesch in reaching a decision regarding the level of protection to whistleblowers who report fraud by employers. The case, United States ex rel. Thomas v. Duke Univ., was issued by the Middle District of North Carolina.

Professor Hesch’s article, “The False Claims Act Creates a ‘Zone of Protection’ That Bars Suits Against Employees Who Report Fraud Against the Government,” was published in the Drake Law Review. This is the second time a federal court has cited this article when addressing employer actions against whistleblowing employees. A federal court in Illinois cited to the article in 2015, and the same article had previously been cited in a brief for petition for a writ of certiorari before the U.S. Supreme Court in Kalyanaram v. New York Institute of Technology.

Hesch continues to impact the profession and the law through his research and is highly regarded for his expertise within the legal community.

An additional law review article by Hesch was also cited by the federal courts. His earlier article, entitled “Understanding the ‘Original Source Exception’ to the False Claims Act’s ‘Public Disclosure Bar’ in light of the Supreme Court’s Ruling in Rockwell v. United States,” which was published in the DePaul Business and Commercial Law Journal, was cited by a federal court in Mississippi; this article, too, was cited in briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court in Graham County v. U.S. Altogether, legal articles written by Hesch have been cited in eight briefs before the Supreme Court.

Professor Hesch is considered a leading expert in the federal government’s whistleblower reward program under the False Claims Act (FCA), which pays rewards for reporting fraud against the government. For over fifteen years, Hesch served as a trial attorney with the Civil Fraud Section of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, D.C. While at DOJ, he led numerous fraud investigations affecting 20 different federal agencies. One of these False Claims Act cases settled for $641 million. The combined recoveries for all of the fraud cases on which he worked exceeded $1 billion and paid out more than $250 million in whistleblower rewards. 

While at Liberty University School of Law, Hesch has authored nine law review articles on whistleblowing, four amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court, and two books. 

Learn more about Professor Hesch and other Liberty Law experts in our Liberty Law Media Guide.