The False Claims Act

1. What makes a good False Claims Act case?

It starts off being like any other civil law suit. The Government and we are looking for cases with substantial damages, a defendant who can pay the judgment, solid proofs of fraudulent conduct, and no legal deficiencies that will cause the suit to be quickly dismissed (such as the statute of limitations).


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More technically, you can’t sue a State or state agency under the False Claims Act. There needs to be federal money at issue. The Government has to consider the alleged misconduct significant in terms of its decisions to pay or withhold payment on invoices or other kinds of requests for payment.
There can’t be an existing Government over the same subject matter or a similar qui tam case. And, there cannot be a public disclosure of your allegations unless you are an “original source” of them.

2. Do I have to be an employee of the target company?

No. Anyone can be relator in a False Claims Act suit, including, an employee, competitor, salesperson, consultant, patient, consumer or even the common “man or woman on the street” who has somehow gotten wind of what is going on. Usually, an employee will have more information than an outsider, but many good cases have been made by non-employees.

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3. Can I be an anonymous whistleblower?

There are things that we can do to try to minimize your exposure, but we cannot guarantee complete anonymity. We will discuss a number of options with you if this is a concern, but you should assume that at some point your identity will be revealed to the defendant and the general public.

Most cases involve overbilling or requesting payment for something that someone doesn’t really deserve under the law or applicable regulations. Occasionally, a company will try to underpay an amount that is due to the Government, for example understating the value of royalty payments or customs duties. That is what is meant by a “reverse” false claim. The False Claims Act has a special provision for allowing these kinds of lawsuits.

4. How is the relator’s share determined in a successful False Claims Act case?

Usually it is the result of negotiations between the Government and us. The focus is on what the whistleblower did to help on the case and what risks he or she took in coming forward. If we can’t agree with the Government, we will then ask the federal judge who is overseeing the case to make a determination based on the same factors. It is important to remember that the relator only gets compensated from funds that the Government recovers in the lawsuit.

5. What is a “reverse” False Claims Act case?

Most cases involve overbilling or requesting payment for something that someone doesn’t really deserve under the law or applicable regulations. Occasionally, a company will try to underpay an amount that is due to the Government, for example understating the value of royalty payments or customs duties. That is what is meant by a “reverse” false claim. The False Claims Act has a special provision for allowing these kinds of lawsuits.

The False Claims Act also includes a provision that protects an “employee” or “contractor” from being retaliated against by an employer for having engaged in protected whistleblowing activity. Usually, this means the employee gets financial compensation if he or she is fired, demoted, harassed or otherwise discriminated against and can prove such mistreatment is related to being a whistleblower.

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