We 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.