74.66.050  <<  74.66.060 >>   74.66.070

Qui tam actionAttorney general authority.

(1) If the attorney general proceeds with the qui tam action, the attorney general shall have the primary responsibility for prosecuting the action, and is not bound by an act of the relator. The relator has the right to continue as a party to the action, subject to the limitations set forth in subsection (2) of this section.
(2)(a) The attorney general may move to dismiss the qui tam action notwithstanding the objections of the relator if the relator has been notified by the attorney general of the filing of the motion and the court has provided the relator with an opportunity for a hearing on the motion.
(b) The attorney general may settle the action with the defendant notwithstanding the objections of the relator if the court determines, after a hearing, that the proposed settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable under all the circumstances. Upon a showing of good cause, the hearing may be held in camera.
(c) Upon a showing by the attorney general that unrestricted participation during the course of the litigation by the relator would interfere with or unduly delay the attorney general's prosecution of the case, or would be repetitious, irrelevant, or for purposes of harassment, the court may, in its discretion, impose limitations on the relator's participation, such as:
(i) Limiting the number of witnesses the relator may call;
(ii) Limiting the length of the testimony of the witnesses;
(iii) Limiting the relator's cross-examination of witnesses; or
(iv) Otherwise limiting the participation by the relator in the litigation.
(d) Upon a showing by the defendant that unrestricted participation during the course of the litigation by the relator would be for purposes of harassment or would cause the defendant undue burden or unnecessary expense, the court may limit the participation by the relator in the litigation.
(3) If the attorney general elects not to proceed with the qui tam action, the relator has the right to conduct the action. If the attorney general so requests, the relator must serve on the attorney general copies of all pleadings filed in the action and shall supply copies of all deposition transcripts, at the attorney general's expense. When the relator proceeds with the action, the court, without limiting the status and rights of the relator, may nevertheless permit the attorney general to intervene at a later date upon a showing of good cause.
(4) Whether or not the attorney general proceeds with the qui tam action, upon a showing by the attorney general that certain actions of discovery by the relator would interfere with the attorney general's investigation or prosecution of a criminal or civil matter arising out of the same facts, the court may stay such discovery for a period of not more than sixty days. The showing must be conducted in camera. The court may extend the sixty-day period upon a further showing in camera that the attorney general has pursued the criminal or civil investigation or proceedings with reasonable diligence and any proposed discovery in the civil action will interfere with the ongoing criminal or civil investigation or proceedings.
(5) Notwithstanding RCW 74.66.050, the attorney general may elect to pursue its claim through any alternate remedy available to the state, including any administrative proceeding to determine a civil money penalty. If any alternate remedy is pursued in another proceeding, the relator has the same rights in the proceeding as the relator 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 has become final is conclusive on all parties to an action under this section. For purposes of this subsection, a finding or conclusion is final if it has been finally determined on appeal to the appropriate court of the state of Washington, if all time for filing the appeal with respect to the finding or conclusion has expired, or if the finding or conclusion is not subject to judicial review.

NOTES:

Sunset Act application: See note following chapter digest.
IntentFinding2012 c 241: See note following RCW 74.66.010.
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