The decision to file a qui tam whistleblower lawsuit is an important one. Naturally, you want to provide yourself with the best chance of filing a successful case and the following tips can help to that end.
Choose Your Qui Tam Lawyer Carefully
The federal False Claims Act is a detailed and complex law. You want to make sure that your lawyer has experience filing and litigating these unique lawsuits. Some law firms promise huge monetary rewards, but, in reality, do not know the process well enough to make good on those promises. It is also important for the law firm to have the proper resources to take on a qui tam case, as the process can be lengthy and often requires the attention of several lawyers at one time. You should also ask a potential law firm’s record if they work closely with the government, as the chances of winning a False Claims Act lawsuit are much higher if the government elects to join the suit.
When you are consulting with a potential qui tam lawyer, make sure that he or she plans to play active role in your lawsuit after the case has been filed. You are a party to the lawsuit and your attorney should be participating and contributing to the litigation.
Act Quickly After Obtaining Evidence of Fraud
You should always keep in mind that a qui tam lawsuit may be dismissed if you are not the first to bring the allegations. It can also be dismissed if details of the fraud are made public before your case is filed, unless of course you are an original source of the information.
In addition, there are time limits on how long you have to file a False Claims Act lawsuit. Generally, you must file within six years from the date that the fraud was committed. However, there are certain circumstances that will allow you to file within 10 years. This is another example of the detailed process when it comes to the federal False Claims Act and, without an experienced lawyer, your case may be dismissed due to a court’s decision on time restraints.
Understand Which Court is Best for Filing Your Lawsuit
Whistleblowers are allowed to file a qui tam lawsuit in a number of jurisdictions and you will notice that different courts interpret details of the False Claims Act in different ways. When you are deciding which court to file your suit, both you and your attorney will take these decisions into account.
Never Discuss Your Lawsuit with Anyone Other Than Your Lawyer
When you file your lawsuit, it is done under seal. That means the information is not available to the public. The seal will not be lifted until after the federal government has completed an investigation of the charges contained in the suit and made a decision as to whether they will intervene.
Discussing your case in public, or with any one for that matter, and revealing details of your allegations can be detrimental to your lawsuit. That means you should not discuss the details of your lawsuit with family, friends, post information about your allegations on social media outlets (like Facebook or a personal blog) or send out tweets about the progress of your case.
Understand What it Means to be a Whistleblower
When someone makes the decision to come forward with information of fraudulent activity and file a False Claims Act lawsuit, they take on both personal and professional risks. Without a strong resolve and an even stronger legal team to rely on, the process can be extremely stressful. You should also be aware that the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act provide workplace protection for relators and sharing in the monetary recovery of a successful action can help to compensate you for the risks taken. In addition, you will have the personal satisfaction that you were able to make a difference by putting an end to fraudulent activity against the United States government and the American taxpayers.