What are Qui Tam Lawsuits?

01/05/2012 // San Francisco, CA, USA // Whistleblower Law Firm // Jeffrey Keller // (press release)

California whistleblower attorneys at Keller Grover LLP handle a variety of whistleblower actions, including qui tam lawsuits. Although the words “qui tam lawsuit” are being mentioned more frequently in the news lately, many people are not familiar with these kinds of lawsuits or how they work. The qui tam lawyers at Keller Grover LLP explain:

A qui tam lawsuit is a civil lawsuit brought by a citizen whistleblower on behalf of the government against a company or citizen who has committed fraud or violated certain governmental regulations in a contract with the government. Qui tam lawsuits enable the government to recover billions of dollars from wrongdoers, such as healthcare companies, defense contractors and pharmaceutical companies for frauds that they have committed in their business with the government. In recognition of the contribution whistleblowers make in helping to root out and prevent these fraudulent activities, qui tam lawsuits also reward whistleblowers for coming forward with the allegations of wrongdoing by giving them a share of any recovery.

Qui tam lawsuits are brought pursuant to the federal False Claims Act (or state equivalents) and have recently been seen in cases involving Medicare fraud and defense contractor over-billing. Since the government is considered to be the victim in these cases, a qui tam lawsuit is filed “under seal,” which means that the lawsuit is kept secret from everyone except the Department of Justice (or state attorney general) which investigates the allegations before the defendant or the public learn of the case. The government, based on its investigation, then decides whether it will join the case and assume the primary responsibility for its prosecution. Once the government decides whether or not to join the lawsuit, the “seal” comes off the case and the defendant and the public are made aware of the lawsuit. The lawsuit may proceed to trial or it may be settled pre-trial.

By law, whistleblowers receive a portion of the government’s successful recovery from the wrongdoer. The amount of a whistleblower’s recovery depends on many factors, including whether the government intervenes or takes over the prosecution of the case , but typically is in the range of 15% to 30%.

To discuss a whistleblower matter with the qui tam whistleblower lawyers at Keller Grover LLP, contact the attorneys at 866.486.1537 or via email at [email protected]

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