Qui Tam Claims
As citizens and taxpayers, we expect government officials and employees to exercise honesty, candor, and adequate transparency in handling their business. We also trust that businesses that deal with the government are being honest and exercising good faith in their dealings. In some instances, employees for either private businesses or the government witness actions that contravene these principles, putting the employee in an awkward position. Some people may wish to blow the whistle on their employer but understandably fear the repercussions. To address this situation, the U.S. Congress has enacted the False Claims Act, which protects whistleblowers from retaliation and provides financial incentives for a plaintiff if his or her qui tam lawsuit results in funds being recovered for the government. Knoxville whistleblower lawyer Mark Hartsoe can guide Tennessee residents through the process of bringing a claim against their employer to hold it accountable for misconduct against the government.Understanding Qui Tam Lawsuits under the False Claims Act
A lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733) is called a qui tam action. It is a civil lawsuit that provides a monetary award to plaintiffs who successfully help the government recover funds. There are a number of common situations in which fraud against the government occurs, such as defense contractor fraud, Medicaid fraud, pharmaceutical industry fraud, and tax fraud. These actions can help thwart fraud against medical patients, members of the military, and others. An important aspect of a qui tam case is that it provides protection to the whistleblower, who may otherwise face retaliation or other repercussions from his or her employee or colleagues.
Once an employee believes that fraud against the government is occurring, the individual can bring a claim against the person or business that is allegedly defrauding a government entity. The lawsuit is filed “under seal,” meaning that it is private and cannot be viewed by members of the public. The defendant is not informed about the action immediately. This also allows the Department of Justice to review the lawsuit and its allegations and conduct an investigation. The seal lasts for 60 days, during which time the Department of Justice will decide whether it wants to intervene in the action. If the Department of Justice does not intervene, the plaintiff still has the option of pursuing the lawsuit. In some instances, the Department of Justice or the plaintiff’s counsel will request that the seal be lifted partially so that the plaintiff can discuss a potential settlement with the defendant.
If the plaintiff is successful in his or her action, he or she will receive a financial reward that is calculated according to a number of factors, including the merit of the action and the amount of work that the plaintiff’s lawyer put into the case. If the Department of Justice intervenes, and the case is successful through either a settlement or trial, the whistleblower can potentially receive between 15 and 25 percent of the funds recovered. If the Department of Justice does not intervene in the action, but the plaintiff pursues it anyway and is ultimately successful, the reward will be increased to an amount between 25 and 35 percent of the funds recovered.Contact an Experienced Knoxville Lawyer for Your Whistleblower Claim
If you have information about fraud against the government and believe you may be in a position to bring a qui tam case under the False Claims Act, you should consult Knoxville whistleblower attorney Mark Hartsoe. He understands the complexities and nuances of these claims and can guide you through each step of the process. We treat all of our clients with the compassion and personal attention that they deserve. Mr. Hartsoe also is available to Tennessee residents who need an injury attorney to assert their rights after an accident. Call us at 1-865-524-5657 or contact us online to set up a free consultation