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What are Qui Tam Lawsuits?

What are Qui Tam Lawsuits

What are Qui Tam LawsuitsWe get asked frequently “What are Qui Tam Lawsuits?” When someone has knowledge of fraudulent activity, that person is a relator and files a law suit on behalf of the government. This is quite different from the average lawsuit. In a qui tam lawsuit, the person bringing the suit is not the one harmed. After conducting their own investigation, the government may or may not join the case.

Thanks to the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, the government encourages citizens to come forward with any information about entities defrauding federal programs. This allows the government a chance to recover part or all of the stolen funds. Without these private citizens, or “whistleblowers”, coming forward, the government often would not have been aware of the fraudulent activity. Therefore, the relator, or whistleblower, becomes entitled to receive a financial reward for their service to the country. Rewards will come if the litigation is successful.

What is the False Claims Act?

The False Claims Act is a federal law imposing liability on companies and individuals who defraud the U.S. government. Within the False Claims Act, there is a qui tam provision. This allows the individuals who know of the fraud against the government to “blow the whistle” on the illegal activities.

The False Claims Act requires either the Attorney General or an attorney with the Department of Justice to investigate any allegations of fraud against the government.

How long does the investigation take?

The government has 60 days to investigate any and all allegations posed in your complaint. However, they can request additional time if needed. After the investigation ends, a decision will be made as to whether or not the government will intervene in your case.

What happens if the government intervenes in my qui tam lawsuit?

The government may decide to intervene in your qui tam lawsuit. If so, the case will either be resolved through a settlement or a jury verdict.

What happens if the government does not join my qui tam lawsuit?

The government may decide not to intervene in your qui tam, or whistleblower lawsuit. Then your qui tam lawyer will help you decide if you should continue with the case or drop the case. If the government declines to participate in your qui tam lawsuit, that does not necessarily mean you do not have a valid case.

What should I do if I have a qui tam lawsuit?

Do you think you may have grounds for a qui tam lawsuit? You need to make sure to protect yourself and your rights. An experienced qui tam lawyer will walk you through the entire process of a qui tam lawsuit. They will let you know your rights and how to protect yourself as well as how to proceed with your case.

Explaining the Qui Tam Provision and How It Empowers Citizens

qui tam provision

qui tam provisionThe qui tam provision is a part of the False Claims Act. This provision allows private citizens to file a lawsuit if they have knowledge of an organization, company, or individual who has submitted false claims to the United States Government. However, before filing a claim against a fraudster, it is important to understand the details of the qui tam provision.

Who can file suit under the qui tam provision?

First, this portion of the False Claims Act provides power to citizens with knowledge of fraudulent activity. Also, the provision makes it possible for citizens to file suit. However, they must have adequate proof that false claims were submitted to the government.

Is a reward available under the qui tam provision?

The qui tam provision empowers citizens and motivates them to bravely blow the whistle on anyone who defrauds the government. However, reporting fraud is a risky action. Therefore, the government included a qui tam provision that rewards private whistleblowing citizens upon the recovery of government funds. As a result, whistleblowers may receive up to 30 percent of the recovered funds.

Who can be prosecuted under the qui tam provision?

The qui tam provision allows citizens to report knowledge of false claims submitted to the government. Therefore, any physician or healthcare agency receiving government funds and any contractor working for the government can be prosecuted if they have obtained government funds due to false information they provided in a claim.

What types of actions qualify as a false claim?

There are a wide variety of actions that can qualify as fraudulent under the qui tam provision. Furthermore, it is fraud any time an individual, company, or organization uses false information to obtain government funds. Examples of actions punishable under the False Claims Act include:

  • A physician is improperly billing Medicaid or Medicare for materials or services to get inappropriately high payments. This could include billing for services never provided. Or, it could mean upcoding a less expensive service or overbilling for a service. Finally, it could mean making a false diagnosis so they can bill for more expensive tests and procedures.
  • A government contractor is overbilling for products or services provided. He is providing false information in order to make more money.
  • A company or organization is selling the government faulty or dangerous products with full knowledge of the defective nature of the product.
  • A contractor or organization is billing the government for services they never provided.

Are you a private citizen and you have knowledge of fraudulent activity? The qui tam provision empowers you to file a claim against the entity committing the illegal activity. Share your information with a qualified attorney. Ultimately, you can play a role in recovering government funds. You may receive a financial reward for your actions.

Call (770) 643-1606 to find out more about the qui tam provision by contacting Bothwell Law Group.

Top 5 Tips for Filing a Qui Tam Complaint

Qui Tam Complaint

Qui Tam ComplaintWhen you consider filing a qui tam complaint, there are many things to take into consideration in order to increase your chances of a successful lawsuit. Your reward for filing the complaint depends on the outcome of the case. So, it is important you understand the process to avoid missing out on the reward you deserve as a whistle blower.

Here are the top 5 tips for filing a qui tam complaint:

#1. Move Quickly to File a Qui Tam Complaint after Becoming Aware of Fraud

Whistle Blowers are only rewarded if they are the first person to come forward with the details of a specific fraud. Because of this, it is important you quickly report the fraud as soon as you have evidence that the crime was committed.

In addition to being the first to file a qui tam complaint, there is a statute of limitations in place for qui tam lawsuits. Typically, you must file a suit within six years of the fraud’s commission. Special circumstances do exist where the statute of limitations may increase to ten years. However, we still believe you should move as quickly as possible.

#2. Keep the Details of Your Claim Private

Until the government has completed their investigation, the details of a qui tam lawsuit remain sealed. This means, you are expected to keep the details to yourself. Choose to disclose information concerning your suit with the public or post about it online? You could harm your lawsuit and risk your chance at a reward.

#3. Work with Your Lawyer to Understand the Court System

You can file a qui tam lawsuit in any number of jurisdictions. Because of this, you can work with your lawyer to carefully select the appropriate court for filing your lawsuit.

#4. Collect as Much Evidence as Possible

The reward you collect is dependent on your lawyer’s ability to prove the occurrence of fraud. In a court system where innocent until proven guilty is the guiding rule, evidence is key to winning a lawsuit. When you become aware of fraud, collect physical evidence of the fraud for your qui tam complaint to increase your chance of a successful suit.

#5. Choose Your Attorney Carefully

Filing a qui tam lawsuit is no simple task. The False Claims Act is a complicated law, and understanding the ins and outs of filling a lawsuit requires experience and extensive knowledge of the law. Carefully research each attorney before making a choice. Be sure you choose someone who has experience with fraud and a reputation for winning qui tam lawsuits.

Our team at Bothwell Law Group is experienced in whistle blower and qui tam lawsuits in Georgia and the surrounding area. Call 770-643-1606 to find out more about filing a qui tam complaint by contacting Bothwell Law Group online.

Who Is Qualified to Be a Relator in a Qui Tam Action?

Who is qualified to be a Relator in a Qui Tam action

Who is qualified to be a Relator in a Qui Tam actionWho is qualified to be a relator in a Qui Tam action? To qualify as a relator in a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act, special parameters must exist, both formal and informal. The formal requirements are set out by the courts and the False Claims Act itself. Informal requirements go to the personality of the relator. Read on to learn who is qualified to be a relator in a Qui Tam action.

Formal Qualifications of a Relator

A relator is an individual who brings the qui tam lawsuit on behalf of the US government. Therefore, they do not have to have been personally harmed by the alleged fraud. Most individuals can serve as a relator, although there are a few things to keep in mind.

Most of the time, the relator is going to be a current or former employee of the organization that is defrauding the US government or someone who has conducted business with that organization. This should come as no surprise given the amount of knowledge and information the relator is going to need to successfully pursue the qui tam action or effectively assist the government if it decides to intervene and join the case against the defendant.

The single most important qualification of a relator is that they must possess information not available to the general public. The biggest reason the US government is willing to share its recovered money is because it is gaining access to information, and therefore obtaining evidence it would not otherwise have. If the government could obtain the evidence itself, it would have no incentive to share its recovered money with anyone else.

Another formal qualification is that the relator cannot be a federal employee. Though it’s theoretically possible for the relator to be a federal employee, courts disagree on whether this is allowable. Even if it is, the US government doesn’t like it when relators in qui tam actions are federal employees. It’s easy to understand this conflict with the following example.

Mr. Sam works for the Environmental Protection Agency; therefore, he is a federal employee. Mr. Sam’s job duties include responding to and investigating complaints from citizens and companies about potential environmental violations. During an investigation, Mr. Sam discovers a major petroleum company has illegally dumped chemicals into a river. Furthermore, he learns that company also overcharged the US government $100 million when it provided fuel for military vehicles in Middle East military operations.

Mr. Sam wants to report this by starting a qui tam action. His potential reward can range from between $10 million and $30 million. See the potential problem? There is a delicate line between conducting an investigation as a government employee and an individual looking to increase his bank account, which could be an abuse of power.

Informal Qualifications of a Relator

In addition to the above requirements, some unofficial or informal qualifications will be helpful in serving as a relator. The first major qualification goes to the relator’s ability to handle risk.

There are several reasons an individual can choose to be a qui tam whistleblower. One of the strongest motivators is the potential to collect a substantial monetary reward. When a person decides to be a whistleblower, they are very likely to suffer retaliation at work. This can take the form of harassment, bullying and firing. And once fired, the relator may have trouble working with that organization or similar organizations ever again.

For example, an engineer at a defense contractor who blows the whistle may never again work as an engineer at a large company. They will have the reputation of being a “snitch” or someone who is willing to backstab their employer for a few bucks. This may very well not be true, but the world works not necessarily on reality, but on the perception of reality.

Depending on the difficulty of proving the fraud and the size of the potential monetary reward, the relator must balance those considerations with the almost inevitable retaliation they will face. Put another way, the individual will have to understand and accept they are taking a big risk when they sue the organization defrauding the government.

The second major motivating factor for many relators is the strong moral conviction of doing the right thing. Not all relators are in it for the money. Some of them simply want to report activities they deem unethical, unlawful, improper or all three. Given the risks involved and the likelihood of retaliation, a relator who’s not in it for the reward must have a strong sense of what’s right to continue pursuing the qui tam lawsuit in the face of retaliation.

Do You Think You Can Be a Relator?

Once you have learned who is qualified to be a relator in a Qui Tam Action, if you think you can serve as a relator, contact our team at Bothwell Law Group.

How Does a Qui Tam Lawsuit Work?

How Does a Qui Tam Lawsuit Work

How Does a Qui Tam Lawsuit WorkQui tam lawsuits work by rewarding a whistleblower who sues a person or organization that is defrauding the US government. Since the government is unaware of most of the fraud taking place against it, it relies on whistleblowers to bring the fraud to the government’s attention. One way this occurs is when the whistleblower sues the wrongdoer on the government’s behalf. In return for doing this, the whistleblower gets a portion of the money recovered by the US government.

How Does a Qui Tam Lawsuit Work:  Background

Qui tam lawsuits fall under the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act is an old law, dating all the back to the Civil War. Back then, various contractors were defrauding the Union (and Confederate) government by selling war goods that were faulty, inadequate or otherwise unfit for use. To counter this problem, Congress passed the False Claims Act, which created liability on those who would defraud the government.

As a way of making the False Claims Act more effective, Congress added a qui tam provision. This allows individuals to collect a reward if they help the US government recover money taken through fraud. This “bounty” sounds like a good idea, but how exactly does the process work?

How Does a Qui Tam Lawsuit Work:  The Beginning

To start a qui tam lawsuit, there must be a whistleblower (also called a relator). A relator is someone who has knowledge of the fraud and can use that knowledge to sue (or help the US government sue) the person or organization who is defrauding the government. The government relies on relators because the government is unaware of most of the fraud that takes place. Additionally, even if the government suspects possible fraud, it won’t have anywhere near the knowledge or access to information that someone inside the defrauding organization would have.

Once someone decides to be a whistleblower, they must file a complaint in federal court, just as they would in a normal civil lawsuit. But what makes the qui tam lawsuit different is that the relator must file the complaint “under seal.” This means the whistleblower cannot reveal the qui tam lawsuit to the defendants or the general public. Instead of notifying the defendant, the relator will notify the relevant US Attorney and Attorney General of the United States by providing them with a copy of the complaint.

The next step involves the government investigating the alleged fraud. This can take many months. While this investigation takes place, the qui tam complaint will remain under seal. The US government will complete its investigation and conclude whether to “intervene” or join the lawsuit. Even if the government decides not to intervene, the relator can still continue the lawsuit. However, it makes the chances of success much less likely. This is for a couple of primary reasons:

First, the relator can’t rely on the resources of the United States to pursue the qui tam lawsuit. If the defendant is a powerful and wealthy corporation, it might be able to force the relator into giving up on the case, regardless of how much merit it has.

Second, if the US government decides not to join the case, it probably means it believes there’s not a good chance of winning. The defendant knows this, so if it sees the government backing out, it knows the relator doesn’t have a strong case.

Whether the US government joins or not, the case can continue with the relator setting out to prove that fraud has taken place.

How Does a Quit Tam Lawsuit Work:  Potential Reward for the Whistleblower

Assuming the qui tam lawsuit is successful, the relator may recover a certain percentage of the total amount of money recovered by the government. The percentage will vary depending on the facts of the case, whether the government intervened and if so, how much assistance the relator provided during the case. Typically, the relator can expect a reward of between 10% and 30% of the total recovery. The higher 25% to 30% amount is usually for relators who win cases the US government refused to join.

How Does a Qui Tam Lawsuit Work:  Whistleblowing Risks

The idea of collecting a sizeable reward entices many people to become whistleblowers. But to see a case all the way through to completion takes a lot of time, hard work and risk. For example, when the relator files the qui tam lawsuit, they have some level of anonymity, but many organizations can eventually figure out who the whistleblower might be if they go digging. Even if the anonymity remains at the beginning of the case, the person’s name usually comes out during the trial. And in the rare cases where it does not, the anonymity vanishes when the person collects their reward.

All this means the relator is at risk of retribution and retaliation. The False Claims Act has special provisions to prevent this, but it’s difficult to prove retaliation. Much of it is very subtle and underhanded. A whistleblower can possibly become blackballed after filing a qui tam lawsuit, resulting in the inability to find work in their chosen industry or field – but it can be impossible to prove who did it.

Interested in Getting an Award under the False Claims Act?

If you’d like to learn more about how does a qui tam lawsuit work, please contact Bothwell Law Group by calling 770.643.1606 today.

Breaking Down the Qui Tam Lawsuit Definition So Anyone Can Understand It

Qui Tam Lawsuit Definition

Qui Tam Lawsuit DefinitionAre you searching for information to learn more about a qui tam lawsuit? It’s a rather complicated legal topic, but we will do our best to break it down for you in layman’s terms. Keep reading for the details you need to know if you are considering or involved in a qui tam lawsuit.

Under the False Claims Act, the qui tam law allows a private party to bring a claim against another party for false billing to the federal government or for withholding information resulting in a higher cost to the federal government.

Qui Tam Lawsuit: When to Litigate

The federal government always retains the right to take on a false claims case and pursue it first. However, where the Department of Justice decides that a case is not a priority to pursue, then the reporting party can bring a lawsuit at his cost and charge the false claim defendant in federal civil court.

If the reporting party wins the case, he would then be eligible to between 15 and 25 percent of the total recoveries due to the federal government. While this may sound like a small amount, it’s frequently the case that the erroneous cost amount covers multiple years and hundreds of billings.

Qui Tam Is Not Necessarily Whistleblower Protection

The qui tam provision of the False Claims Act is frequently confused with being a whistleblower protection clause, but they are not the same. Whistleblower protections help ensure a reporting party is not unfairly retaliated against in their career or life from reporting. The qui tam provision, however, provides whistleblowers with the ability to carry out a lawsuit penalizing a wrongdoing defendant. The protection law is related, but separate.

The basis of the qui tam lawsuit option started as far back as 1899 under an obscure law known as the House Refuse Act. However, under British common law, the concept was in play up to four centuries earlier. The early U.S. law was one of the first allowing lawsuits by private parties to enforce the provisions of the related federal law.

Qui Tam Lawsuit Options and Benefits

The benefit of the Qui Tam option is twofold. First, it allows the Department of Justice civil branch to prioritize its cases without completely missing the opportunity to pursue a matter of concern. Often a report may seem to be serious, but the evidence is insufficient for the federal government to pursue.

Another possibility is that the Department of Justice branch is overwhelmed and focused on much bigger cases already, being unable to spare resources for the latest report. The Qui Tam option allows the reporting party to pursue the matter in court to the benefit of the federal government. This keeps the issue alive and ensures that a wrongdoing party still ends up being held responsible. It also works as an active deterrent to intentional financial wrongdoing.

From the defending company perspective, the Qui Tam option is a dual exposure for liability. Again, either the Department of Justice or the reporting party can sue the company. Both options can result in significant damages if wrongdoing is proven and confirmed in court. And similar to other false claims charges, how a company responds when incorrect actions or wrongdoing are identified makes a big difference in the outcomes legally.

The qui tam lawsuit is a serious step and should be handled with sensitivity. To better understand how to proceed in a quit tam lawsuit, contact our team at Bothwell Law Group.

When Does the Medicare False Claims Act Come into Play?

Medicare False Claims Act

Medicare False Claims ActAre you wondering what constitutes fraud under the Medicare False Claims Act? If you’ve come across something unusual in the course of receiving treatment, performing an office audit, or overheard an incriminating conversation, you might have grounds for filing a qui tam lawsuit.

However, it’s worth noting that not every instance of fraud will qualify. To help you determine what is and is not in scope, we’ve outlined the basics of the FCA, as well as additional items to consider before invoking it.

What Constitutes Fraud Covered by the FCA?

There is a hurdle or two that must be met to qualify:

  1. A person or individuals knowingly present (or causes to be presented) a false or fraudulent claim for payment approval by the U.S. Government.
  2. The individual(s) knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made a false record or statement to get a fraudulent claim paid for, or approved by, the government.
  3. Conspires to do any of the above.
  4. Knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made a false record or statement aimed at decreasing the dollar amount or other general obligation owed to the government.

One or any combination of the following will make your case eligible for coverage under the False Claims Act.

Common Types of Medicare Fraud

Every year, billions of records are sent to the U.S. government for payment under the Medicare program. Because the system is automated, and the number of transactions is so large, it’s impossible to oversee every single one. As a result, less than 2% of transactions submitted to Medicare ever get audited.

The low audit numbers and lack oversight make it incredibly easy to perpetrate any of the following types of common Medicare fraud:

  • Double billing
  • Up-coding
  • Up-charging
  • Unbundling and charging for services individually
  • Charging for services not rendered
  • Charging for time not spent
  • Charging for nonexistent employees
  • Receiving kickbacks from patients
  • Receiving kickbacks from companies
  • Identity theft
  • And more

Every year people find new and different ways to attempt to defraud the government. Whether it’s prescribing drugs for off-label purposes or using expired heart valves and equipment, the possibilities are nearly endless.

The only thing standing between the crooks and being caught? People like you who decide to report or file suit.

When to File a Qui Tam Lawsuit

While knowledge of intentional fraud is a key qualifier, there are additional items to consider when deciding whether or not to file a qui tam suit. Here are a few of them:

  • Overall size of the fraud scheme
  • The level of your personal involvement in perpetrating it
  • Any extenuating personal ramifications (stress, friendships, relationships, etc.)
  • The amount of physical evidence you have, or have access to

Any one of these items can derail a lawsuit before it even starts. To determine if it’s the right path forward for you, engage an experienced attorney or law firm and have them talk you through the pros and cons of the process.

Looking for Further Assistance in a Medicare False Claims Act Case?

Still have questions about the Medicare False Claims Act? Contact the Bothwell Law Group online, and we’ll help you find the answers you need.

Debunking the Myths Surrounding Whistleblower Law Firms

whistleblower law firms

whistleblower law firmsWhen it comes to whistleblower law firms or even litigation firms in general, there are a variety of baseless myths that have sprung up. We’ve rounded up a few of the most common ones, and offered you a fact-based rebuttal for each.

Myth 1: We encourage frivolous litigation.

This is perhaps the most obvious myth, arising from the impression the U.S. has become an overly litigious society in recent decades. While it may certainly be true for some forms of litigation, it makes zero sense for whistleblower law firms. And here’s why.

We, the law firm, are paid almost entirely out of the successful recovery amount. Put another way, we don’t always get paid if we don’t win. It would be against our own best interest to take weak qui tam lawsuits and push them through the system because it’s unlikely they would succeed. And no success means the bills don’t get paid.

While this particular myth may apply to other areas of the law, it does not apply to whistleblower law firms.

Myth 2: Qui Tam suits are glorified contract disputes.

No, no, no. A thousand times, no. Contract disputes often focus on the quality of goods supplied, or the failure to meet sufficient standards in materials or service delivery as outlined in a contract. In well-negotiated contracts, there are clear avenues of recourse and remediation for these instances, and the court need only enforce them.

A qui tam suit is an entirely different beast. These lawsuits are specifically focused on fraudulent activity bilking the government out of money. The result is a chain of evidence and requirement of proof extending far beyond the basics of simple quality assessment. Often it includes documents, statements, and forensic accounting, just to name a few. The standard of proof is much higher, as is the amount of evidence required.

Myth 3: Qui Tam lawsuits are simple.

The government has certainly made headlines the past few years, garnering billions of dollars in recovered monies, and highlighting cases where whistleblowers received an extensive reward as a result of their information and False Claims filing. The news cycle, while impressive, is a pure public relations play. The government needs people to come forward and report fraud. Touting it as a rewarding, easy and simple experience means more individuals are likely to come forward in an effort to get their own (hopefully large) piece of the pie.

The truth is these cases require an extensive burden of proof, have stringent limitations on the procedures and protocols associated with filing, and can take several years to reach a successful conclusion. Any one of those factors would push these cases beyond “simple”, but the combination of all three makes matters downright complicated.

All that being said, they can certainly be worth the time and effort to see them through to completion. However, we believe clients should enter into the process with open eyes, and realistic expectations regarding how it will unfold over time.

In Need of a Whistleblower Law Firm to Guide You?

If you’re looking for an experienced whistleblower law firm, contact our team at Bothwell Law Group by calling 770.643.1606 today.

What Is the Qui Tam Procedure and Who Manages It?

Qui Tam Procedure

Qui Tam ProcedureThe qui tam procedure is quite different from a typical lawsuit. The steps involved are detailed and numerous, with several potential trip-ups scattered throughout. Here are the basics of what you need to know about the whole process:

Step 1: File the Civil Complaint.

A “relator” (aka- any normal human being) files a civil suit on behalf of the government. The suit is filed under seal for 60 days, meaning the defendant is not made aware of it at the time it’s filed. Because it is filed under seal, it is important you do not discuss the details of the case with anyone other than your lawyer. Doing so can violate the seal and cause the case to be rejected, or thrown out, based on the technicality.

Step 2: The Government Investigates.

Depending on the scope and magnitude of the allegations, the government can file an extension of the seal for as long it deems necessary. This can extend the process to well over a year.

During that time, the government reviews the information and proof you have gathered and also conducts its own investigation. Because this can include thousands of claims spread over numerous years, it’s easy to understand why this part can eat up so much time.

Step 3: The Government Intervenes. Or not.

Based on the strength of the case, the government may decide to intervene, or join your case. This means they are deciding to take over the action in its entirety. You and your counsel likely need to do nothing further.

However, if they decide not to intervene, you have the right to continue to pursue the action on behalf of the government. This is the gut check moment for you and your attorney because you no longer have the clout of Uncle Sam standing beside you. Further, if the court finds in the defendant’s favor, and believes you filed the suit as a means of harassment against them, you will be held liable not only for your own attorney fees, but theirs as well.

Step 4: The Court Rules.

After trial, the Court will provide its ruling in your case. In the event the Court finds in your favor, you may be entitled to up to 30% of the award. However, this amount can be reduced under any of the following conditions:

  • The government intervened and carried the case through to completion.
  • You were an integral part of planning and perpetrating the fraud in question.
  • You are convicted of criminal conduct as a result of your role in the fraud.

Roles and Responsibilities Between Relator and Attorney

The attorney you hire will represent you throughout the duration of your case. Typically, the attorney is paid from any proceeds arising from a recovery, allowing individuals with strong cases and few financial means to proceed with their case without hardship.

This agreement is referred to as a “contingent representation contract.” The law firm will agree to absorb any of the costs of the litigation and supplies legal knowledge, experience, and hours of service in return for costs covered by the final ruling and a portion of any recovery.

Additional Qui Tam Procedure Questions We Didn’t Cover?

You can learn more about qui tam procedure by contacting our team at Bothwell Law Group at 770.643.1606.

What Is the Difference Between Federal and State Whistleblower Laws?

State Whistleblower Laws

State Whistleblower LawsIf you want to blow the whistle on a fraudster who has been stealing money from your state’s government, understanding state whistleblower laws is vital before moving forward with a False Claims Act lawsuit. Even though state whistleblower laws are typically modeled after federal whistleblower laws, there are some important differences between the two.

Before moving forward with a false claims act lawsuit, understand the following facts about state whistleblower laws:

There are some states that do not model their state whistleblower laws after federal whistleblower laws.

Currently, there are a few states that only allow their citizens to file False Claims Act lawsuits if they are pertaining to healthcare fraud. For example, if an employee has knowledge that their healthcare employer is intentionally misfiling a Medicare claim, they can file a whistleblower lawsuit.

All states with False Claims laws have protections in place for whistleblowers.

If you are a whistleblower, you do not have to worry about retaliation. You are protected from harassment and firing and there are laws in place that give you the right to sue if you are the victim of retaliation.

To file a state False Claims lawsuit, the state itself must have suffered loss or damage.

If you want to file a lawsuit within a specific state, that state must have lost money as a result of fraud. This means you cannot file a federal lawsuit under your state’s whistleblower laws.

Some states allow whistleblowers to consolidate state and federal lawsuits.

If the federal government or other states have also lost money along with your state as the result of fraud, some states will allow you to create one lawsuit to blow the whistle on a nation-wide fraud.

State False Claims laws vary from state to state.

Even though many states model their laws after federal laws, there are variances from state to state in these laws. In some states there are additional laws or statues that make the process of filing a false claims lawsuit entirely different and more involved.

As you can see, there is a lot to understand about state whistleblower laws and how they differ from the federal whistleblower laws that are currently in place. Because of this, it is very important to seek out a false claims act attorney who is experienced working within your state on false claims lawsuits.

Attorneys with extensive knowledge of both state and federal whistleblower laws will guide you through the process of filing you suit and help you to avoid mistakes that could cost you the reward you deserve for blowing the whistle on a fraudster in your state.

The lawyers at Bothwell Law team focus solely on False Claim Act lawsuits and are experts in this highly specialized field. Call 770.643.1606 to find out more about state whistleblower laws by contacting Bothwell Law Group online.

How to Choose a False Claims Act Attorney

false claims act attorney

false claims act attorneyIf you want to file a whistleblower lawsuit, choosing the right false claims act attorney is an important part of the process. If you have knowledge of fraud being committed against the government, you can file a false claims, or qui tam, lawsuit.

As a citizen, the False Claims Act gives you the power to file false claims lawsuits on behalf of the government. Not only does the False Claims Act give you the right to sue a fraudster, it protects you from any possible retaliation that may result from the lawsuit. Additionally, the person who has filed the lawsuit may be rewarded if the government decides to pursue the case.

Don’t Choose Just Any False Claims Act Attorney

The false claims act attorney you choose could be the determining factor of your success in false claims court. Because the government could reward you up to 25 percent of the money recovered in the case, you want to choose an attorney who is experienced and equipped to handle your case. There are four things you should be looking for before hiring a false claims act attorney:

  1. Choose a False Claims Act attorney with experience.

    The False Claims Act is complicated, and there are many factors playing a role in the process of filing a qui tam lawsuit. The reward statue of the False Claims Act is especially complicated. Because of these, we suggest you hire an attorney who has extensive experience filing False Claims lawsuits.

  1. Choose a False Claims Act attorney with connections.

    False Claims lawsuits require extensive communication between the False Claims Act Attorney and the attorneys working with the government. Because of this, it is especially beneficial if the attorney you hire has already established strong relationships with these attorneys through previous work or lawsuits.

  1. Choose a False Claims Act attorney who is honest and straightforward.

    Only a portion of qui tam lawsuits are accepted by the government. The attorney you have chosen for your case should be knowledgeable enough to see if your case has a chance of being further pursued by the government. Additionally, your attorney should be honest with you about how strong your case is. Because of this, it is important you choose an attorney who has a reputation for being straightforward and honest with their clients.

  1. Choose a False Claims Act attorney who values open communication.

    A False Claims Act lawsuit can take as much as three years to complete. These lawsuits require extensive conversations between you and your attorney, as well as between your attorney and the attorneys working for the government on your case. Because of this, it is important to choose an attorney who communicates openly and reliably with you.

Bothwell Law Group attorneys have a combined 30 years of experiencing filing False Claims Act lawsuit. Contact our skilled false claims act attorneys at Bothwell Law Group by calling 770.643.1606 today.