Qui tam is a statute under the Federal Civil False Claims Act (FCA) that allows a citizen to file a lawsuit in the government's name based on fraud committed by entities that receive or use government funds. Qui tam cases typically arise from false claims made to the United States government for "payment or approval." Qui tam suits may also be brought when claims are made to the government that reduce or decrease a monetary obligation (such as a tariff) owed to the government.
Fisher Taubenfeld LLP handles these complex claims on behalf of employees who wish to do the right thing and report the fraudulent or otherwise illegal activity of their employers. We will be your experienced legal guide throughout the qui tam process.
Manhattan Qui Tam Lawyers | Explaining The Qui Tam Process
Who Can Bring A Qui Tam Case?
Qui tam cases allow a private citizen, who acts as a "relator," to share in money that is recovered from a lawsuit. A relator may be an employee or former employee who reports (blows the whistle) on an employer's fraudulent actions. A relator may also be a public interest group, corporation or private organization.
For a qui tam suit to be successful, a relator must be prompt in filing the information in his or her possession and must comply with certain procedural requirements. In some cases, relators may be unable to recover if other parties also bring a claim. If you have information on an employer's illegal activity, call our firm at 866-654-0343 to speak with one of our attorneys.
What Are The Most Commonly Litigated Qui Tam Cases?
Qui tam cases are frequently mischarging cases, which involve false claims for goods or services that were not actually provided or delivered to the government. False negotiation or defective pricing cases are also common; these involve submitting false cost or pricing data to the government during contract negotiation, resulting in higher contract prices.
What Is The Procedure For Filing A Qui Tam Case?
A qui tam lawsuit is brought by a relator in a federal district court that has jurisdiction over the matter. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is only supposed to take 60 days to determine whether it will intervene in the case, but some cases can take several years. If the DOJ decides to intervene, it will be responsible for controlling and prosecuting the action. If it elects not to intervene, the DOJ may move to dismiss the action or try to settle the action. Alternatively, the DOJ may simply decline to prosecute the action, in which case the private citizen may continue to prosecute the action himself or herself with the assistance of counsel.
How Much Of The Monetary Award Is A Relator Entitled To Recover?
A relator may be able to recover the following compensation in a qui tam case:
- Between 15 and 25 percent of an award if the DOJ intervenes and successfully litigates the case (assuming the relator was not involved in the fraud)
- Between 25 and 30 percent of an award if the DOJ does not intervene and the relator successfully litigates the case
A relator who was involved in a fraud can have his or her award reduced or eliminated if the DOJ declines to prosecute a case and the relator successfully litigates the case alone.
Can An Employee Bring A Claim For Retaliation Under the FCA?
Yes. Employees have the right to bring a lawsuit when they are terminated, demoted or otherwise retaliated against by an employer for investigating, bringing a lawsuit or providing testimony, about illegal activity. An employee who prevails on such a claim may be entitled to reinstatement, triple back pay and compensation for attorneys' fees and costs.
Contact Fisher Taubenfeld LLP
We offer a free and confidential phone consultation in which you can discuss your legal needs. Send an email or call 646-741-3490, toll free 866-654-0343, to speak with an experienced New York Federal False Claims Act lawyer.
Serrins Fisher LLP was dissolved effective September 1, 2016. Liane Fisher and Michael Taubenfeld are happy to announce their new practice, Fisher Taubenfeld LLP. To reach Alan Serrins please call (212) 384-0202.