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Can I Be Sued in a Qui Tam Lawsuit?

Our whistleblower defense lawyers explain how qui tam lawsuits work

The short answer to this complex question? Perhaps. Qui tam laws are very complicated. That’s why it’s important to talk with a defense attorney if you or your business have been named in a qui tam lawsuit. Our qui tam defense lawyers at Brewer, Pritchard & Buckley, PC can review the case against you and advise you on the best course of action.

What is qui tam law?

In general, the basic premise of qui tam law revolves around financially rewarding people who report fraud, primarily involving taxpayer money used to pay for goods or services. These laws have existed for hundreds of years. While the precise rules have changed, the basic concept remains the same.

What is your qui tam lawsuit question?

Clients and potential clients often ask us questions about qui tam lawsuits. Some of the most common questions we regularly encounter at Brewer, Pritchard & Buckley, PC include:

Who can file a qui tam lawsuit?

Qui tam lawsuits are often filed by whistleblowers. In order to be classified as a whistleblower, that person must have direct knowledge of fraud or other wrongdoing covered by qui tam law. As a result, most whistleblowers who file qui tam lawsuits are:

  • Employees of the private company being sued
  • Former employees of the company they’re suing
  • Subcontractors or competitors of the company being sued
  • Local and state governments directly affected by allegations of fraud or corruption

In recent years, federal employees have also been permitted to file qui tam lawsuits. These legal cases have often been challenged in court, however. The same is true for many other qui tam lawsuits. Legal challenges are common, since the laws governing these cases can be confusing.

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Can a government employee file a qui tam lawsuit?

Yes. A government employee can file a qui tam lawsuit if they have direct evidence of fraud against the federal government or any government agency. These allegations can include overbilling, double billing, kickbacks or other allegations of corrupt practices.

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Can someone file a qui tam lawsuit against a private business?

Yes. Qui tam law encompasses private business. As a result, whistleblowers often file qui tam lawsuits against private businesses. It is important to remember, however, that they must have direct knowledge of fraud or other wrongdoing committed by a private company.

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Where can someone file a qui tam lawsuit?

Qui tam lawsuits must be filed in federal court confidentially “under seal,” meaning the lawsuit is kept secret by the whistleblower while the government investigates these allegations. If a whistleblower violates these provisions, the qui tam lawsuit should be dismissed by the government.

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How are qui tam lawsuits different from regular lawsuits?

People can file a lawsuit for a wide range of reasons. Qui tam lawsuits can only be filed if someone suspects fraud or other types of corruption. The principle behind qui tam lawsuits in the United States dates back to 1863, when the False Claims Act became law. Origins of qui tam law began in the 14th century, when people in England could take this legal action on behalf of the king.

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Who investigates qui tam lawsuits?

Government officials in the U.S. Department of Justice normally handle most investigations involving qui tam lawsuits. These cases can often be very difficult to prove. That’s why our law firm actively investigates these allegations on behalf of our clients – to make sure our clients’ rights and freedoms have been respected.

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Are people financially compensated for filing a qui tam lawsuit?

Offering a financial incentive for reporting allegations of fraud has a long-standing tradition in American society. In recent years, the U.S. government increased the amount of money people receive under the False Claims Act. As a result, there has been a significant increase in the number of qui tam lawsuits filed by individuals.

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Can I be sued in a qui tam lawsuit?

In general, individuals are not the targets of qui tam lawsuits. Rather, businesses which receive government funds are often the targets of qui tam lawsuits. This often include:

  • Government contractors
  • Medical providers who accept Medicare or Medicaid
  • Public or private universities which receive government funding

In recent years, the United States Supreme Court has placed restrictions on certain qui tam lawsuits filed against state agencies. That’s why you should always question the validity of any qui tam lawsuit filed against you or your business. You may be able to legitimately challenge the qui tam lawsuit against you or your business and have the case dismissed.

Don’t take anything for granted. Talk with a white collar criminal defense lawyer who understands qui tam law and can defend your rights. Contact Brewer, Pritchard & Buckley, PC and schedule a case evaluation today. We proudly represent clients nationwide.

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