Do you know what a Qui Tam lawsuit is? Did you know that these lawsuits can result in large settlements? Well, if you didn’t, let’s learn together.
In premise, Qui Tam means “In the name of the king”. But what does that really mean? And how does that relate to law?
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about Qui Tam, including compensation.
So keep reading to find out about the law pertinent to whistleblowing.
What Does Qui Tam Stand For?
As mentioned earlier, Qui Tam stands for “In the name of the king.”. Under the False Claims Act, this Qui Tam allows an entity with evidence of fraud against a federal contract or program to sue on behalf of the government of the United States.
In Qui Tam, the government has the full right to join the action and intervene. If the government declines the action, the plaintiff can choose to proceed of their own accord. Some states pass similar laws concerning fraud, but Qui Tam is pretty universal.
Qui Tam Actions Are Complex
Very rarely, a fraud claim can be straightforward. Meaning, a defendant makes a falsified statement about a certain fact. However, defendants are often very creative in discovering methods for financial gain, thus the underlying fraud whistleblower claims tend to be quite complex.
There might sales and purchases through a relevant entity, financial incentives, or kickbacks disguised as legit billings or compensation, which in fact exploit changes in regulatory systems that lack oversight.
Expereciend lawyers in Qui Tam will be able to quickly understand the conduct that is allegedly wrongful, as well as the regulations and relevant rules. Qui Tam can happen in industries including banking, healthcare, telecommunications, defense, aerospace, technology, construction, pharmaceuticals.
Qui Tam advisors will have worked on a variety of matters in several industries and should be able to quickly understand how the wrongdoing fits in the contractual, legal, and regulatory structure.
Not to mention, they often have the choice of where to file the action, and the choice of venue can also have a tremendous impact on the outcome of the case. Specific courts interpret laws in specific ways, and specific DOJ offices have specific resources for such cases.
Qui Tam Must Happen Under Seal
What makes the Qui Tam lawsuit so unique is that it must be filed under seal. This means it protects sensitive information by presenting it to the government without the lawsuit becoming known to the defendant or being stored on the public records.
The complaint under seal is not a common happening, and even a court clerk might not be familiar with such procedures. Some courts have local rules regarding such claims, and others do not.
Following the appropriate procedure for Qui Tam is especially critical because a mistake can lead to seal the breach. Even an unintended seal breach can put your entire lawsuit at the risk of potential dismissal.
Not to mention, under seal claims consist of personal value to whistleblowers. Because most are employees or former contractors, filling a Qui Tam lawsuit might put them into a dangerous situation to their livelihood. With so much at stake, a lawyer can help ensure that you follow the law and secure your safety.
Alongside under seal claims, a disclosure statement must be served. This statement should consist of the evidence in possession of the relator regarding the complaints. An experienced attorney can help not only guide you when it comes to crucial evidence but also ensure that you compile and present it in an effective manner.
Compensation Under False Claims Act
Under the FCA, defendants found to have been responsible for the fraud against the government are liable for thrice damages, in addition to penalties of $11000 per claim.
Successful whistleblowers will receive 15 to 30% of the amount gathered by the government. This percentage is determined by a specific formula that is outlined in the act:
- A relator will receive 15 to 25% of recovery if the government joins
- A relator will receive 25 to 30% of recovery if they continue the case on their own
And that’s about it. Although we cannot provide specific approximations for such cases, you can take a look at some popular Qui Tam cases and gauge expectancy from there.
Factors That Affect Qui Tam Lawsuit Compensation
Whistleblower compensation varies tremendously based on the factors of the case. These affecting factors are, but not limited to:
Did you hire experienced lawyers with the ability to manage whistleblower cases? Did the lawyers do most of the legwork?
If they helped the government built the case, the reward for both you and the lawyer will be greater.
Did you partake in fraud? The government wants to help those who participate in the act to blow the whistle, but this will reduce the reward that you can acquire.
Was the information reliable and correct? Were you the first source?
If your case is based on information previously gathered by the government, your reward is minimized.
Relief From Retaliation
If you file a Qui Tam lawsuit against an employer and suffer the consequences, you might have a case for unlawful retaliation. If successful in this claim, you can receive twice the amount of back pay, as well as special damages, alongside the recovery share.
Are you considering filing a claim? Get in touch with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
Qui Tam Funding
Now that you know what a Qui Tam lawsuit is, as well as the potential factors affecting the compensation, you are well on your way to take this horse by the reins. As long as you follow the law to the tee, and work with an excellent lawyer, you will be fine.
If you need to hire an attorney but don’t have the money, get in touch with us and we will accommodate your funding needs.