What is a qui tam lawsuit?
These lawsuits are a kind of whistleblower lawsuit that is included under the False Claims Act. This act rewards the whistleblower if the case is successful and the government recovers the funds lost to fraud. These cases are powerful for whistleblowers who assists the government to cease many types of frauds.
On becoming a whistleblower and filing a qui tam lawsuit
The False Claims Act claims that any private citizen has a right to sue a person or a business that is defrauding the government and recover the funds on the behalf of the government. The lawsuit is filed under seal. In other words, it is kept secret from everyone except the government in order to let the Justice Department investigate the matter. Even the individual or company accused of fraud isn’t informed about this qui tam case. This very lawsuit and necessary documents must be provided to the government with delineated information about the fraud.
Then, the government investigates the matter usually with the help of the whistleblower’s qui tam attorney and determine if it will join or intervene in the case. The government intervenes by a little amount of qui tam cases. Whistleblowers are also provided an option to pursue these cases by their own means, if the government says no to intervention, as stated under the False Claims Act. It also states that a qui tam case is sealed for 60 days, however, courts usually seal it multiple times to provide enough time to the government to investigate the matter. Sometimes, it may even take years. Many times government will ask the court to lift the seal partially on the case on order to discuss on the same and possible settlement. The defendants have to pay thrice the amount of government losses and penalties for each false claim if found liable under the False Claims Act. Almost every successful qui tam cases are easily fixed via settlement deals instead of a court trial, albeit many trails may happen.
So, how to report a safety report fraud and file a lawsuit?
If one has the evidence of fraud against the government and determines to be the whistleblower, then they need to find a lawyer to represent themselves. Thorough due diligence and careful consideration is needed when it comes to hiring decision as the work done by the lawyers will determine the success rate of the qui tam case and the reward the whistleblower will be bestowed with.