People ex rel. Alzayat v. Hebb, 18 Cal. App. 5th 801 (2017)

Mahmoud Alzayat filed this qui tam action against his employer (Sunline Transit Agency) and his supervisor (Gerald Hebb), alleging a violation of the Insurance Frauds Prevention Act (“IFPA”) based upon allegedly false statements that Hebb made in an incident report submitted in response to Alzayat’s workers’ compensation claim and in a deposition taken during the investigation into Alzayat’s claim. The trial court dismissed the complaint based upon the litigation privilege, codified at Cal. Civ. Code § 47(c). The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the litigation privilege does not bar an action brought under the IFPA, which is a more specific statute than the litigation privilege, and application of the litigation privilege to claims brought under the IFPA “would in large measure nullify the Act.” The Court further held that the Workers’ Compensation Act’s exclusivity rule did not apply to Alzayat’s claims under the IFPA because such claims are not based on the qui tam relator’s own injuries.