A. If the Commonwealth proceeds with the action, it shall have the primary responsibility for prosecuting the action, and shall not be bound by an act of the person bringing the action. Such person shall have the right to continue as a party to the action, subject to the limitations of this section.
B. The Commonwealth may dismiss the action notwithstanding the objections of the person initiating the action if the person has been notified by the Commonwealth of the filing of the complaint and the court has provided the person with an opportunity for a hearing on the complaint.
C. The Commonwealth may settle the action with the defendant notwithstanding the objections of the person initiating the action 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, such hearing may be held in camera. The Commonwealth may, for good cause shown, move the court for a partial lifting of the seal to facilitate the investigative process or settlement.
D. Upon a showing by the Commonwealth that unrestricted participation during the course of the litigation by the person initiating the action would interfere with or unduly delay the Commonwealth’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 person’s participation, such as (i) limiting the number of witnesses the person may call; (ii) limiting the length of the testimony of such witnesses; (iii) limiting the person’s cross-examination of witnesses; and (iv) otherwise limiting the participation by the person in the litigation.
E. Upon a showing by the defendant that unrestricted participation during the course of the litigation by the person initiating the action would be for purposes of harassment or would cause the defendant undue burden or unnecessary expense, the court may limit the participation by the person in the litigation.
F. If the Commonwealth elects not to proceed with the action, the person who initiated the action shall have the right to conduct the action. If the Commonwealth so requests, it shall be served with copies of all pleadings filed in the action and shall be supplied with copies of all deposition transcripts at the Commonwealth’s expense. When a person proceeds with the action, the court, without limiting the status and rights of the person initiating the action, may nevertheless permit the Commonwealth to intervene at a later date upon a showing of good cause.
G. Whether or not the Commonwealth proceeds with the action, upon a showing by the Commonwealth that certain actions of discovery by the person initiating the action would interfere with the Commonwealth’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. Such a showing shall be conducted in camera. The court may extend the sixty-day period upon a further showing in camera that the Commonwealth 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.
H. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection B of § 8.01-216.5, the Commonwealth may elect to pursue its claim through any alternate remedy available to the Commonwealth, including any administrative proceeding to determine a civil money penalty. If any such alternate remedy is pursued in another proceeding, the person initiating the action shall have the same rights in such proceeding as such person would have had if the action had continued under this section. Any finding of fact or conclusion of law made in such other proceeding that has become final shall be conclusive on all parties to an action under this article. For purposes of this subsection, a finding or conclusion is final if it has been finally determined on appeal to a court of competent jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, if the time for filing an appeal with respect to the finding or conclusion has expired, or if the finding or conclusion is not subject to judicial review.
2002, c. 842; 2007, c. 569.