What is Qui Tam Litigation?
The False Claims Act and Qui Tam Whistleblower Provisions
The False Claims Act (“FCA”) prohibits the submission of false claims or statements to the government. A person or entity that violates the FCA is liable for two types of damages: (1) trebled (triple) of the Government’s actual damages and (2) a fine or fines of $11,181 to $22,363 per violation. Whistleblowers (referred to as relators) can initiate qui tam lawsuits by filing a sealed complaint in court with the assistance of an attorney. Put differently, whistleblowers pursue claims on behalf of the Government.
The qui tam provisions of the FCA allow individuals and their qui tam lawyers to bring a claim on behalf of the government against entities that submit false claims to the government. If the government recovers, whistleblowers typically receive between 15% and 30% of the total recovery.
To speak with qui tam lawyers, please fill out the free case analysis form to the right, call (888) 647-9292, or visit our Contact Us page.
Origins and History of Qui Tam Law
The False Claims Act was passed on March 2, 1863, during the administration of President Abraham Lincoln. The False Claims Act, also known as “Lincoln’s Law,” was enacted to deter fraud against the government by suppliers to the Union Army during the Civil War.
The FCA contains qui tam whistleblower provisions. “Qui tam” derives from the Latin phrase qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur, meaning “who as well for the king as for himself sues in this matter.” This means that both the government and private citizens (known as whistleblowers or relators) can sue for violations of the False Claims Act.
The FCA remained unchanged until 1943, when Congress altered the qui tam provisions, including a cut in the whistleblowers potential award. After this revision, the False Claims Act was rarely used.
In the mid-1980s, Congress again amended the FCA. The amended FCA provided that whistleblowers who brought successful qui tam lawsuits were entitled to recover 15-30% of the government’s recovery. The False Claims Act was again amended in 2009.
Prior to the 1986 amendments, the majority of cases brought under the FCA involved defense contracting fraud. Currently, the majority of qui tam lawsuits brought under the FCA are healthcare fraud cases related to Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
The FCA is now the federal government’s primary tool against government fraud. In 2016 and 2017, the federal government recovered nearly $8.5 billion through False Claims Act litigation, and most of this money came from qui tam lawsuits filed by whistleblowers.
Seeking Qui Tam Lawyers?
From extensive experience, we understand that whistleblowers have deep concerns regarding their part in qui tam lawsuits. We understand how being a qui tam relator may affect their career and their family.
Berger Montague has represented whistleblowers in complex qui tam litigation and understands that the focus of our work starts and ends with the whistleblower. We begin the process by taking the time to get to know our potential clients. First, we explain to each potential client the advantages and disadvantages of being a whistleblower. We explain the process of filing a qui tam complaint and ensure they have a basic understanding of the qui tam whistleblower provisions and whistleblowers laws.
If the potential client is prepared to move along, we start a detailed investigation of the alleged fraud on the government, including, but not limited to: reviewing all relevant documentation, conducting multiple interviews, and consulting with various specialists, if need be.
A vital step to success in qui tam cases is to receive the government’s interest. State and federal prosecutors listen to hundreds of whistleblower complaints every year. If a whistleblower’s qui tam lawsuit has been thoroughly investigated and is not presented to the government in a favorable way, a case with substantial promise may not receive the attention it deserves from the government.
After the initial investigation, our qui tam lawyers prepare and file a detailed complaint, positioned to receive the federal and state government’s interest in moving on with the qui tam lawsuit.
Types of Qui Tam Cases/Lawsuits:
- Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, & Medical Device Fraud
- Medicare and Medicaid Fraud
- IRS Tax Fraud
- Defense Contractor Fraud
- Securities and Commodities Fraud
- Other Fraud Types
As the chart above shows, the majority of qui tam cases filed involve healthcare fraud; in other words, the primary focus on qui tam litigation has been Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Additionally, Department of Defense, including defense contracting fraud against the government, make up 19% of the qui tam lawsuits filed. “Other” qui tam cases may involve financial fraud and mortgage fraud, which rose in correlation with the economic downturn starting in 2008.
Importance of Government Intervention in Qui Tam Actions: 95% of Qui Tam Lawsuits are Successful When the Government Intervenes
The government intervenes in approximately 20% of cases brought by qui tam lawyers. From 1987 to 2010, approximately 95% of the qui tam lawsuits in which the government intervened were settled or received a favorable judgment.
Of these successful cases, whistleblowers are compensated around 10 percent to 30 percent of the amount the government recovered. The percentage the whistleblower receives is higher if the government does not intervene; however, the overall recovery is usually higher when the government intervenes.
About Berger Montague’s Qui Tam Lawyers
The attorneys in Berger Montague’s Whistleblowers, Qui Tam & False Claims Act practice group have assisted our clients in recovering more than $3 billion for federal and state taxpayers. For nearly two decades, our attorneys have helped represent many whistleblowers in actions including healthcare fraud, IRS tax fraud, securities fraud, and government contracting fraud in federal and state courts across the United States.
Whistleblower clients represented by Berger Montague in federal and state courts have been awarded over $500 million.
Contact a Whistleblower Lawyer
Do you need a whistleblower lawyer or do you want to know more about qui tam law?
There are three easy ways to contact our firm:
- Use the Request A Free Consultation form on this page.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call (888) 647-9292
Your information will remain confidential while we evaluate your potential claims and we will work with you to protect your rights.