Business Dispute Lawyer
At least once a week it seems there’s something in the news about the latest whistleblower coming forward to root out corruption. There’s so many ways people and the government are defrauded, but ironically, there’s not a lot of ways to obtain justice. One of the biggest areas of law that enables a whistleblower to obtain whistleblower award is a statute called the False Claims Act, also referred to as the FCA.
The FCA is fairly complex and if you’re thinking about filing a lawsuit under it is mandatory to file through the use of a whistleblower lawyer York, PA relies on. Law firms routinely handle and can provide counsel to whistleblowers and the law firm is spearheaded by a former FBI Special Agent who knows the mechanics of the Federal Government.
The False Claims Act seeks to address fraud against the government. The biggest areas seem to be health care fraud, which are Medicare Fraud and Medicaid Fraud, and also defense contractor fraud. There are many other areas of whistleblowing such as SEC Whistleblowers, CFTC Whistleblowers, IRS Whistleblowers and a few other areas including OSHA, as well as various other state laws.
Navigating the FCA, however, requires the use of a whistleblower lawyer for many reasons, but practically, without one, you run the risk of making a major misstep. First, the case must be filed confidentially, under seal, without serving the defendant. That is a process onto itself. You must notify the United States Attorney in the District it is being filed as well as the Attorney General of the United States.
Before you have a chance to litigate the qui tam yourself, the government is afforded the initial opportunity to take the case. Generally, the government reviews the complaint and then sets up a relator interview, with the plaintiff being referred to as the relator, since they are relating the case on behalf of the government. At the relator interview you can expect to meet with government attorneys, as well as investigators from various agencies including Medicare (CMS), FBI, DOD or whomever your lawsuit implicates.
Your whistleblower lawyer should prepare you in advance for the interview. At the interview the government will evaluate your information, you as a witness and your counsel. What is meant by this, is that they will see if you’re credible, if your information can be corroborated, if you’re manageable, and will your counsel assist and in what capacity. This is not an area of law where firms do well dabbling in as a one off case, so its important when selecting counsel, you retain a whistleblower lawyer with experience and preferably results.
After the relator interview, the government will often seek to extend the initial 6 month seal at 6 months a clip to decide how it wants to proceed, if at all. If the government intervenes the average value of the case is historically significantly higher. If it fails to take action even though the value may be lower on average the whistleblower share may increase to up to 25%.
In short, whistleblower laws are complex, and are best navigated by an experienced whistleblower lawyer. If you think you have a whistleblower case, you should speak with a firm who offers free, confidential consultations and are only paid if they win you a whistleblower award.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Brown, LLC (formerly JTB law Group, LLC) for their insight into whistleblowing cases.