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.