What is a qui tam lawsuit?
Under the False Claims Act, a private citizen may bring a qui tam lawsuit, a type of whistleblower lawsuit, against an individual or business that is defrauding the government.
How is a qui tam lawsuit filed?
The qui tam lawsuit is filed “under seal,” which means that it is kept secret from everyone but the government. This secrecy allows the Department of Justice time to investigate the allegations in the lawsuit.
What happens after a qui tam lawsuit is filed?
The Department of Justice will investigate the allegations, often with the assistance of the whistleblower’s attorneys, and will decide whether it will join, or “intervene,” in the lawsuit. Even if the Department of Justice declines to intervene, the False Claims Act allows the whistleblower to pursue the qui tam case on their own.
If the Department of Justice does decide to intervene, however, it may ask the court to partially lift the seal on the qui tam lawsuit in order to discuss the allegations and a possible settlement with the accused individual or entity.
If the defendants are found liable under the False Claims Act, they may have to pay as much as three times the government’s losses, plus penalties of $5,000 to $10,000 for each false claim. Most successful qui tam lawsuits, however, are resolved through settlement negotiations rather than a court trial.
Qui tam whistleblowers rewards and protections
In order to incentivize individuals with knowledge of fraud committed against the government to come forward, the False Claims Act extends certain rewards and protections to those individuals.
Although the particular amount of the whistleblower reward depends on many factors, if the Department of Justice intervenes in the case and successfully recovers funds through a settlement or a trial, the whistleblower is entitled to 15 percent to 25 percent of the recovery. If the Department of Justice doesn’t intervene in the lawsuit, however, the whistleblower is entitled to between 25 and 30 percent of any recovery.
Furthermore, under Section 3730(h) of the False Claims Act, any employee who is discharged, demoted, harassed, or otherwise discriminated against because of lawful acts by the employee in furtherance of an action under the False Claims Act is entitled to all relief necessary to make the employee whole. Such relief may include reinstatement, double back pay, and compensation for any special damages, which could include litigation costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
To take advantage of these rewards and protections, however, it is imperative that you partner with a law firm with extensive experience with the False Claims Act and qui tam lawsuits.
Why should I partner with Juris Day?
With decades of experience, the attorneys of Juris Day have successfully represented whistleblowers in qui tam lawsuits. Although past results are not indicative of future results, Juris Day attorneys have returned millions to the US Treasury and generous awards to our clients.