A qui tam lawsuit is a type legal action filed by a whistleblower on behalf of the government. In some cases, the government will split a portion of the recovered settlement with the individual whistleblower.
This page was designed to provide basic information on whistleblowing, as well as who can file a qui tam lawsuit. It’s also meant to help those who have been researching qui tam lawyers unsure decide if they should contact one of our qui tam attorneys. The following topics are covered on this page:
- Whistleblower basics
- qui tam lawsuit basics
- What can I Recover from a qui tam lawsuit?
- Researching and Hiring qui tam attorneys
While reading this page, it’s important to remember that nothing contained here is intended as a substitute for speaking directly with an experienced LA wrongful termination lawyer. If you have questions about what a whistleblower is, how to research qui tam attorneys, or how who can file a qui tam lawsuit, contact our office for more information.
CA Whistleblower Basics
A whistleblower is simply an employee who calls attention to violations of law in the workplace. In California there are multiple laws that protect a person’s right to report these violations of law, as well as laws preventing employers from retaliating against whistleblowers.
In many cases, when one thinks of a whistleblower, one pictures an employee who defies management to stand up for what is right and call attention to unsafe working conditions, faulty consumer products, or discriminatory company practices. We’ve written a main page about these kinds of whistleblowers in California.
However, a qui tam whistleblower is perhaps less known about by the general public than other types of whistleblowers. A qui tam whistleblower might call attention to a company attempting to defraud the government or persons who avoid paying taxes. The term qui tam is a shortened reference to a Latin phrase “qui tam pro domingo rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur.” This translates roughly as “he who sues in this matter for the king as well as for himself.” Continue reading to learn more about qui tam whistleblowers, who is eligible to file a qui tam lawsuit and whether you might need to speak with one of our qui tam attorneys.
Qui Tam Lawsuit Basics
A qui tam whistleblower and qui tam lawyers in California will often make use of one of two similar laws when filing a qui tam action. These laws, which are very similar to one another, are federal and state versions of the False Claims Act.
The Federal version — 31 USC § 3729 — states that any person who makes a false record or statement to the government can be liable for civil penalties. The qui tam portion of the law is contained in §3730 and states that a “person may bring a civil action for a violation of section 3729 for the person and for the United States Government.”
The types of situations in which a might become a qui tam whistleblower and a qui tam lawsuit would be filed range from hospital billers who report Medicare fraud, or private defense contractors who suspect their employer is issuing inflated estimates to the U.S. Army. A person who reports another person for tax evasion also engages in a qui tam action and is a qui tam whistleblower.
Continue reading to learn more about what a person can recover in a qui tam action and perhaps decide if you might need to contact our qui tam lawyers.
What Can I Recover in a Qui Tam Lawsuit?
According to 31 U.S. Code §3730 (d)(1), a private party who files a qui tam action under can receive at least 15 percent, and as much as 25 percent of the proceeds from the settlement of the claim. In cases where the government does not take action in the lawsuit the person bringing the action can collect between 25 percent and 30 percent.
Those who file a qui tam action under California’s False Claims Act, which is covered by Government Code § 12650, might be able to collect a larger settlement than with the federal law. The state law allows plaintiffs collect anywhere from 15 percent to 33 percent of the final settlement in cases where the state participates. In cases where the state decides not to join in the qui tam action, the plaintiff can receive between 25 and 50 percent of the settlement.
If you believe you qualify to file a qui tam lawsuit, contact our office to speak with one of our qui tam lawyers.
Researching and hiring qui tam attorneys
While a person who wants to file a qui tam law suit is not required to research qui tam attorneys and hire qui tam lawyers, it is advisable they do. Whenever a person takes a business to court, the deck is usually stacked in the businesses’ favor. With better resources at their disposal, private companies will sometimes hire multiple lawyers to defend their interests. It’s important to research qui tam attorneys in your area, and pick a qualified legal expert to assist you.
A qui tam whistle blower who goes to court to fight corporate fraud or tax evasion needs a legal professional to help them navigate the bureaucratic labyrinth that is the judicial system. It’s important to keep in mind that simple errors, such as missing certain filing dates, can lead to a loss of your case. Don’t go it alone. Our qui tam lawyers can help you.
If you believe you qualify as a qui tam whistleblower, have questions about filing a qui tam lawsuit or hiring qui tam attorneys, contact our lawyer for more information.