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What a Pharma Whistleblower Attorney Does in Whistleblower Cases

pharma whistleblower attorney

What to look for in the right pharma whistleblower attorney.

Choosing a pharma whistleblower attorney is one of the most important steps in winning your case. You want someone with a thorough understanding of qui tam case law in practice, not just in theory. Hiring a family friend or a lawyer based on convenience could come back to bite you. Be sure to pick someone with the essentials necessary to win in a pharma case.

Your lawyer needs the knowledge, skills, and resources to:

  • File your case correctly
  • Navigate common roadblocks
  • Perform appropriate research

Look at former cases to get an idea of what your lawyer might have to handle. For instance, in 2013, DaVita Medical Holdings LLC succeeded in having the FCA case against their company dismissed. The whistleblower in the case, James Swoben, filed an appeal and eventually the company settled for $270 million. Swoben received over $10 million from the agreement but had to fight for compensation of an earlier $322 million settlement by another company involved in the case.  

In another instance, whistleblower Stephanie Schweizer sued her employer for retaliatory conduct. She went on to sue the government when they accepted an extraordinarily small settlement in the case.

False Claims Act (FCA) cases against big pharma are too tricky to go into ill-prepared. Here are just a few ways to know you’re ready for battle.

Make Sure the Lawyer Is Really a Lawyer

While impersonating an attorney is a crime, some professional referral agencies go out of their way to blur the lines. They provide an abundant amount of information on specialized representation in the hopes of referring your case to a lawyer and getting a fee in return. It can be difficult to spot these sites, especially if you’re upset or nervous.

Often they don’t list attorneys by name on their websites. Some list employees and allow visitors to assume they’re law professionals when they’re really “account executives.” Worst case scenario? These people could be fronts for industry leaders looking to stay ahead of their own legal problems. Before giving lawyers the details of your case, check out their credentials with the state bar association.

Look for People Familiar with Pharma-Specific Whistleblower Cases

Corruption is rampant throughout every level of our economy. From education to stock trading, companies are fudging the books and purposefully making bad deals at the expense of their clients. Unfortunately, the rules in each of these industries are unique. The methods for exposing fraud are specific to each situation. Handling things the wrong way will destroy your case and potentially put you at risk. So, it’s essential you work with a lawyer who has experience with cases involved in pharma whistleblowing.

That means asking for a list of cases they’ve worked on and what work they performed. It also means investigating each case to make sure the lawyer is representing the information honestly and accurately. Lawyers are like people in any other profession. Sometimes they exaggerate to land the right client. Double-check their facts to make sure they’re telling you the truth.

  • Did the client or case run into any problems?
  • Was the case successful?
  • Did the government intervene?

Ideally, the lawyer you choose to work with will have experience leading a pharma whistleblower case, from filing the initial paperwork to securing a win for the client.

Ask About Working Alongside the Government

When you sue on behalf of the U.S. government, the appropriate agency reviews the case and decides whether or not to join you in the case. It’s fantastic when they do. The number of resources they bring to the table and the means they have for discovery almost ensure a win.

Unfortunately, the government is cracking down on whistleblower lawsuits and calling for more stringent assessment before the intervention. With the rise in suits over the past five years, costs are also on the rise. Has your lawyer convinced the government to hop on board in the past? If not, you might want to work with someone else.

Double-Check the Traditional Costs of Doing Business

Sometimes whistleblowers choose lawyers based on the lawyers’ location relative to their own because they don’t have the funds needed to get back and forth. This is short-sighted and solves a problem that might not exist. Whistleblower attorneys are often prepared to handle communicating with someone long-distance. Before you limit your choices based on location, be sure to ask if it’s necessary.

Investigating the above issues will provide you with the basics you need to know whether your lawyer is a qualified one. When you’re ready to connect with a skilled pharma whistleblower attorney, talk to the team at Bothwell Law Group by clicking or calling 770.643.1606 today.

Do Whistleblower Protection Laws Apply to All Industries?

Unraveling what Whistleblower Protection Laws mean for you.

whistleblower protection lawWhistleblower Protection Laws aren’t as simple as one body of legislation. Federally, over 20 laws address reporting crimes and other wrongdoings. Each state has its own laws governing retaliation and the like. Professional associations have their own methods for managing complaints within their respective industries. Outcomes depend on the types of information you are sharing. They also depend on the role you play in the offending organization. Finally, they depend on whether or not you use the appropriate methods for calling attention to the problem.

What Is Whistleblowing?

The broadest definition of whistleblowing is reporting on criminal or otherwise immoral conduct by a company, organization or individual. Many states narrow the term to mean employees – perhaps limited to those employed by the government – who are reporting on criminal activity committed by their employer. Where you live and work, the type of work you do and the offenses you’re reporting on will all determine whether you’re covered under Whistleblower Protection Law.

Speaking out about wrongdoings in the workplace is a bold move regardless of what legal protections are in place. The government understands workers make sacrifices to bring attention to problems. Whistleblowers might face social isolation, threats, financial stress and other consequences, not to mention the guilt of turning friends and associates into the authorities for actions which could have noble intentions.

Take Medical Insurance Fraud

Medical insurance fraud is a good example. An assistant in a dental office might notice additional billing for services no one has rendered. The dentist explains the fees cover co-pays for parents who can’t afford them. It sounds legitimate enough, but experience shows a dentist who will fudge copays will eventually put patient care at risk to increase profits. It’s a slippery slope.

Under whistleblower laws, it’s possible the assistant could go to the authorities with fraudulent billing complaints or sue the dentist through a qui tam case. When individuals bring suits against those who defraud the government, they not only put a stop to waste, they have the opportunity to collect a healthy portion of judgments and settlements. The provision is part of one of the oldest laws on whistleblowing, the False Claims Act, otherwise known as Lincoln’s Law.

Every industry has some protection afforded to whistleblowers, even national security and the military. In fact, the Whistleblower Protection Act Former President Ronald Reagan signed into effect in 1989 had concern for federal employees at the forefront. However, whistleblowers in every industry have protection available when turning employers in for various infractions.

Examples of Whistleblowers Across Industries

  • Linda Tripp – White House staffer during the Clinton Administration who went public with the President’s extramarital affair with young intern Monica Lewinsky
  • Frank Serpico – New York police officer who came forward with complaints about corruption within the department
  • Karen Silkwood – A chemical technician who worked for Kerr-McGee Cimarron Fuel Fabrication Site and raised concerns regarding the company’s handling of plutonium
  • Jeffrey Wigand – A tobacco company executive who admitted the industry knew their products were addictive
  • Mark Whitacre – An executive for a commodities trading company, informed the FBI of company price-fixing
  • Sherron Watkins – Enron Corp. executive who exposed the oil companies’ fraudulent practices

Pros and Cons of Being a Whistleblower

In many cases, whistleblowers receive a portion of settlements or court judgments against the companies they expose. In other situations, they’re the subjects of books, movies or awards. While fame and fortune don’t always follow, blowing the whistle on important matters can result in major financial gains. It can also lead to jail time.

In 2010, an Army soldier named Bradley Manning released over 750,000 classified documents online through WikiLeaks to support claims of misconduct by U.S. forces. Manning wound up facing a potential death sentence, ultimately sentenced to 35 years at Fort Leavenworth.

Similarly, government contractor Edward Snowden faces espionage charges for releasing classified documents of the National Security Agency. He remains a wanted man on American soil. However, Snowden has escaped prosecution and is currently living in Russia under the protection of asylum.

Making the Right Decision Requires Qualified Legal Representation

Whistleblower protection laws don’t protect every employee in every situation. The confines of your position and the type of information you share has a big impact on the final outcome. Breaking certain legal agreements, national security protocols and other requirements of your job can land you in hot water. However, performed within the confines of the law, blowing the lid off wrongdoing is a smart and brave way to better the world. It’s essential for potential whistle-blowers to seek legal counsel before they come forward.

Click to find out more about Whistleblower Protection Law by contacting Bothwell Law Group online.

How Whistleblower Laws Can Prevent Bad Stewardship of Taxpayer Dollars

Put whistleblower laws to work for the common man.

whistleblower lawsWhistleblower laws make it easy for people to come forward when they know trouble is afoot. They also encourage people to bust corruption wide open by offering them protection from retaliation — and the chance to receive a small fortune.

How the False Claims Act Encourages People to Do the Right Thing

Telling the truth isn’t always easy, especially when lies seem to have good intentions behind them. Many instances of fraud look like someone has done something to help out the little guy, but the bigger picture shows a different story.

Take Medicaid insurance fraud, for example. Policies in states like Iowa are changing to drastically limit the amount of dental work state insurance will cover in a year. Why?  Because so many dental offices have figured out ways to bilk the system tens of thousands of dollars per patient. They’ve performed unnecessary work, lied about services and even put people in danger to make an extra few dollars. Now, children will suffer without the dental care they need because of greed. These kinds of crimes count!

It takes a brave soul to say something, but if you face the risks you may reap the benefits. Consider the hospital employee who turned the company in for falsifying grant applications. The facility didn’t house nearly many as beds as they’d claimed. The result was a $12.9 million settlement, of which $3.3 million went to the whistleblower.

Filing Suit ‘For the People’

The False Claims Act makes it possible for individuals to sue corporations, groups, and individuals for defrauding the government. Individuals wage these “qui tam” lawsuits on behalf of the nation.

The law sweetens the deal by allowing the filer to take home a portion of the winnings. While this isn’t the only reason whistleblowers come forward, it fuels motivation in many cases.

As the law is currently written, whistleblowers can share in up to 30 percent of a settlement, based on triple the damages involved in a case. See the wrong thing at the right time, and your conscience could make you a lot of money.

Unfortunately, whistleblowing doesn’t come without risk. Laws and industry policies offer various forms of protection, but they do not apply to everyone in every situation. State laws might also limit the reach of federal practices, so it’s important to seek legal counsel before coming forward with damaging information.

Whistleblower policy often protects against the following:

  • Termination and demotion
  • Hostility and threats
  • Severe schedule changes or expectations

Changes to the False Claims Act Through the Years

While perfectly suited to deal with the problems of the modern day, the False Claims Act arose out of the corruption of the Civil War. The greed of the day horrified leaders. Contractors promised to provide troops with quality food, clothing, and supplies only to fail to deliver. These bad business deals, fueled with government funds, sometimes left Union Army troops starving and stranded.

President Abraham Lincoln, initially signed the False Claims Act in 1863, making it clear early on that the United States would not let corruption take hold. It cleaned up the country’s track record … for a while.

Unfortunately, the country forgot those lessons as the years rolled on. During the 1940s, Congress gutted the False Claims Act, removing all incentive for people to report fraud affecting government funds. It wasn’t until the Reagan Administration that people began to take this duty seriously. Today, there are significant protections for those looking to help the little guy.

The False Claims Act is just one way to fight corruption at the government level and secure tax dollars for those with good intentions. However, the country has 22 federal laws giving protection to whistleblowers of various kinds. States have their own standards. Associations and licensing boards offer their own incentives as well.

Using Whistleblower Laws to Your Advantage

Throughout the last 100 years, whistleblowers have uncovered serious risks to government funding and to the people. Karen Silkwood gave her life to the cause when a mysterious auto accident prevented her from testifying against her employer. Critics of his decision to speak out on police corruption shot Frank Serpico. He narrowly survived. Edward Snowden is currently living abroad pending extradition to the U.S. on espionage charges for sharing classified documents with the press.

Protection laws do not offer ultimate protection or keep you safe from all legal repercussions. It’s important to discuss your situation with a legal representative before you speak out.

Contact skilled whistleblower laws attorneys at Bothwell Law Group by calling 770.643.1606 today.

Do the Laws Protecting Whistleblowers Do What It’s Supposed to Do?

Reporting fraud is a little bit safer when there are laws protecting whistleblowers.

Laws Protecting WhistleblowersIf there are laws protecting whistleblowers, then it’s more likely you will have people blowing the whistle on fraud and other improper behavior. This is because becoming a whistleblower can be very dangerous, both physically and for the whistleblower’s career. Therefore, before someone steps forward to report wrongdoing, they will want reassurances that they will have protection. Or they at least want to have a legal remedy if they suffer retaliation. The following is a discussion of the whistleblower protections provided by the False Claims Act.

The Necessity of Whistleblower Protections

When a person decides to be a whistleblower, they expose themselves to risk. There is the potential for retaliation from coworkers, bosses, and anyone else adversely affected when the fraud can no longer occur. This retaliation can take many forms, including professional actions like firings, pay cuts, disciplinary action, and demotions. But it can also be outside of work, such as harassment at home, online bullying, and physical violence.

To help reduce the chances of this retaliatory harm from occurring, the False Claims Act has a few protections for whistleblowers. Each of these has moderate levels of success.


The best way to avoid repercussions as a whistleblower is to keep the identity of the whistleblower a secret. After all, how can a boss fire the “snitch” employee if the boss doesn’t know who the whistleblower is? The primary way the False Claims Act maintains secrecy is to allow the relator (who is usually the whistleblower) to file the qui tam complaint under seal. This means that the defendant does not know that a lawsuit is now pending.

But this secrecy ends when the Department of Justice ends its investigation into the alleged fraud. Assuming the person or company committing the scam doesn’t already know who the whistleblower is, they will now, because they will receive a copy of the complaint. And it’s fair to assume that the defendant will be very angry. They may be upset and work very hard to identify the whistleblower. Depending on the fraud, the organization where the fraud took place and those involved, it may be tough to figure out who the whistleblower is.

Most of the time, the defendant will figure out who the whistleblower is before trial. The can eventually connect the dots. By using simple logic and asking around the office, they will have a good idea who the whistleblower is. But even if they never figure out it themselves, they probably will in court during the trial. This is because most likely, the relator will play a role.

So the secrecy provides some protections, but many defendants can still figure out who the whistleblower is. And even when they can’t, the defendant will almost always find out who the whistleblower is during the trial.  

Anti-Retaliation Provisions

The False Claims Act has specific provisions in place that prohibit employers from retaliating against a whistleblower. Forms of prohibited retaliation include bullying, harassment, threats and other adverse employment actions, like firings. Should retaliation take place, the whistleblower is eligible to receive his or her old job back, back pay, attorney’s fees, and interest. This sounds great, but it’s not the best protection for a whistleblower for several reasons.

First, the whistleblower must prove the employer engaged in retaliation. This is not always easy to do. A slick employer can make up a plausible legal reason for firing or disciplining an employee. That’s true even when the real reason is retaliation for being a whistleblower.

Second, even if the whistleblower wins the retaliation case, the damages they receive usually won’t make up for the fact that they cannot realistically work at their old job again. Yes, they can get their job back. But no reasonable person wants to go back to a position where the employer is just itching for a reason to get revenge.

Third, the worst form of retaliation is usually something that’s almost impossible to prove and for the courts to do anything about: blackballing.

How Does Blackballing Play Out?

Blackballing occurs when the retaliating employer takes steps to ruin the professional career of the whistleblower by preventing them from getting another job in their chosen field. The employer might do this by casually talking to other employers that might potentially hire the whistleblower. The employer will say anything to ruin the whistleblower’s chances of getting a new job. Sometimes it will make up flat-out lies. Other times, it will merely tell the truth. Most prospective employers don’t like the idea of hiring a snitch. Whatever the employer says, it will make it impossible or very difficult for the whistleblower to find another job in a similar industry or field

Do You Need Protection under the Laws Protecting Whistleblowers?

To learn more about the laws protecting whistleblowers, contact the skilled attorneys at Bothwell Law Group by calling 770.643.1606 today.

How to Tell If You’ve Hired the Best Whistleblower Attorneys Available

best Whistleblower Attorneys

best Whistleblower AttorneysIs it worth it to hire the best whistleblower attorneys? Qui tam cases can result in rewards in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. When that kind of money is on the line, you don’t want to take chances. If you are building your dream home, you want the best housebuilders around. If you are bringing a qui tam case, you want the best whistleblower attorneys to help you.

Here are a few factors to consider as you determine whether or not you’ve found the best whistleblower attorneys for your qui tam case:

The Best Whistleblower Attorneys Know Their Stuff

It’s pretty simple to become the lead dog at anything; you need to know what you’re doing. The greatest teacher is experience. When you look for a whistleblower attorney, look for someone who has a track record proving their knowledge and their ability to win.

Most attorneys have an area in which they excel and focus and receive ongoing training in that area, and also know the most up-to-date information. When it comes to whistleblowing, the entire process is very detailed and can be complicated. Your attorney needs to know the best move to make at each stage of the game.

Don’t settle for an attorney with just a winning track record in court. You want to choose an attorney with a winning record for qui tam cases. The qui tam case is different than many other types of lawsuits because you are bringing a case to the government for investigation. There are layers of red tape and plenty of I’s to dot and T’s to cross, so everything is laid out according to the rules.

Many attorneys have experience in employment discrimination suits or class action suits, which have certain commonalities with False Claims Act suits, but this is not the same as a lawyer who knows how to handle the critical differences of a whistleblower suit properly. Make sure you choose an attorney with a proven track record of qui tam cases they have won in court.

A good qui tam case requires a lot of resources, both financial and human. There are a lot of expenses involved in building a whistleblower case. Money is needed for investigating, filing papers, and hiring consultants to research and analyze documentation. Every allegation needs to be substantiated, and that takes time and money.

Experienced whistleblower attorneys have a team of lawyers and other professionals to take on the work. Experts, each working in their particular area, will put together the most airtight case possible. These experts will need to meet with you to consult and gather your information. The right whistleblower attorney may even take care of the travel expenses for you.

Look for Whistleblower Attorneys You Like

A strong whistleblower case doesn’t happen quickly. It can take as long as three years, so you want to make sure you like your attorney. While their knowledge and track record are both critical, you need to have an attorney who you like so you don’t cringe every time you have contact. Your attorney is the one who not only puts your case together but also negotiates your reward, so a solid working relationship is important.

Make sure the attorney you choose is willing to listen to you and provide you with updates on the case. While you can’t expect him to call you with every little detail, you should receive regular updates when progress takes place.

Your qui tam attorney must convince the Department of Justice to intervene and take on your case. While the strength of your case will be the determining factor, a good relationship can only work in your favor.

Whistleblowing can be very stressful, and you want an attorney who understands that and has some compassion for your position.

Has Your Whistleblower Attorney Made It Clear Why You Should Hire Them?

When interviewing attorneys for the job, make sure you ask them plenty of questions and make sure you get clear answers. Find out if they have the time and resources to represent your case efficiently. Ask about their track record with qui tam cases and request some real-life examples.

Question how much documentation they need from you and what their policy is to find more. Ask about retainer fees and contingency fees. Find out if the firm covers the expenses, to be recouped from the reward. If not, what are the expectations for payment? Ask if they will ask for damages including their fees or if the costs will come out of the reward.

You hire your attorneys, and, therefore, they work for you. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions you need to ask to feel confident in your decision. Once you hire your attorneys, trust in their ability to do what you need, unless the evidence shows they cannot. When you can trust your lawyer, much of your stress related to the case will fall away.

If you’re planning a whistleblower case, the attorney you hire is the most important decision you can make. Have questions about what makes for the best whistleblower attorneys? Contact the Bothwell Law Group online today.

How Can a Federal Fraud Whistleblower Attorney Help Me as a Whistleblower?

Federal Fraud Whistleblower Attorney

Federal Fraud Whistleblower AttorneyIf you have information regarding fraudulent crimes against the government, the best thing you can do is hire a federal fraud whistleblower attorney to handle your case. Being represented by a lawyer who has experience and knowledge in federal fraud whistleblowing means they will protect your rights. Having this protection will enable you to relax, knowing you’ve done the right thing without having to pay the price for someone else’s crime.

Bringing evidence of fraud against the federal government is a daunting task, especially when your job is in the mix. When you have a federal fraud whistleblower attorney on your side, it’s like having a protective covering over your steps. You can release all the stress of missing a step or failing to fill out the proper documentation because your attorney knows how to cover every single detail.

Look at it this way. You wouldn’t spend a day at the beach without an umbrella for protection from the blazing sun, would you? Of course not! When you have an attorney who knows every detail of federal fraud whistleblower cases, you’re protected from unforeseen circumstances.

Your Federal Fraud Whistleblower Attorney Is on Your Side

When you bring a fraud case to the attention of the government, it can feel like that is the last decision you make. After all, the government does the investigation to uncover the evidence. The government decides whether the fraud constitutes a crime. They decide if the case has merit and should go to court. Then they decide all the details about how to present the case. It can feel like there is nothing more you can do.

If you have an attorney who knows the ins and outs of whistleblower fraud law, however, you have someone who has a vested interest in your side.  With a lawyer trained in whistleblower law, you can be assured your rights are protected, both at your job and in the court proceedings. In fact, should the government decide not to bring a court case forward, your attorney can help you decide if you should move forward on your own.

Your Federal Fraud Whistleblower Attorney Can Protect Your Job

Federal law protects whistleblowers’ jobs. In 1989, whistleblower laws were amended to provide protection to employees who inform the government about illegal fraud practices. Although there are laws in place to protect against loss of employment as well as harassment in the form of promotion denials, denials of wage increases and many other aspects of employment, these unfair and illegal practices still happen frequently.

Having an attorney who knows the law and how to enforce it could be one of the best reasons for hiring a federal fraud whistleblower attorney. Most of us have no idea how many protection laws are in place to safeguard the whistleblower’s job, earnings, and benefits. With the right attorney, you could make sure you receive two times any back pay, plus interest if you are let go or demoted for whistleblowing. You can also get your seniority status reinstated as a matter of law if you return to your position.

Your Federal Fraud Whistleblower Attorney Can Protect Your Freedom

If you are aware of fraud concerning Medicare and Medicaid, and you do NOT disclose the fraud, you could be looking at some legal consequences of your own. Known as “failure to disclose,” this law states that failing to report health care program fraud is a crime in itself. By contacting an attorney who knows the details of this and other whistleblower laws, you know you have someone who is going to protect you legally from the first step of disclosure all the way through to the resolution of the case.

The penalties for failure to disclose unlawful Medicare or Medicaid payments or overcharges are highest for the provider who receives the fees and doesn’t inform the government. That provider is committing a felony and can face a fine up to $25,000 as well as prison time for as long as five years. While the penalties for an employee are much lower fines and a misdemeanor offense, you can be prosecuted for not sharing what you know.

If you are aware of fraudulent business practices that are stealing money from the government, you need to make sure you get representation to both protect and reward you for the risk in reporting it. You need a federal fraud whistleblower attorney to work alongside you to win your case. Contact our team of skilled federal fraud whistleblower attorneys at Bothwell Law Group by calling 770.643.1606 today.