Qui Tam Actions: Whistleblowing Overview | Mann & Elias

Experienced Whistleblower Attorney in Los Angeles

Qui Tam Actions: Whistleblowing Overview

Do you have information that targets your employer for committing fraud against the government? If so, you might be able to file a lawsuit. In a legal proceeding, courts refer to this as a qui tam action. These actions allow the government to recover the money they lost because of fraud. And, as for your lawful act, you would be entitled to a percentage of what got recovered. At Mann & Elias, we represent whistleblowers at any capacity and any stage of their legal process. Because whistleblower cases are unusual and need to allege fraud, consult with our Los Angeles workplace lawyer before getting started.

Qui Tam Action: Bringing A Case Against Your Employer

Qui tam lawsuits are not uncommon, but employees seldom know about them until they begin establishing their case. Anyone can file a claim to the government claiming fraud, but you should have ample evidence to prove it. A few examples that usually get reported are:

  • A company overcharging the government and failing to report it
  • Soliciting money for services that never got provided.
  • Selling something and not delivering the product or service
  • Making false reports or reviews about the quality of an item.
  • Not testing products before they go to market.
  • Any schemes that steal or defraud the government.

Although speaking up has garnered a certain level of importance, the aftermath may be detrimental to your career. Employers often retaliate against whistleblowing employees in ways that cost them their job, impact their finances, or encourage them to quit. Qui tam actions are slightly different for private individuals.

If you work in the private sector, the qui tam case gets filed “under seal.” That means the complaint you provide will be confidential and will not get released to the public for at least 60 days. A copy of the allegations will go directly to the United States Attorney for the district you live in, as well as the Attorney General. Within that time frame, they will investigate the complaint and decide whether to intervene.

If the government decides to act, it may result in prosecution. However, if the case does not move forward, you still have the option to proceed with whistleblower legal representation in Los Angeles minus the government’s involvement. Keep in mind that they can still go against your employer or company later, should there be more reason to.

As one of the plaintiffs, your LA whistleblower lawyer wouldn’t need to demonstrate that the defendant(s) intended to defraud the government. Pre-existing evidence used to file the claim will be enough to hold them liable. The court or jury is likely to rule against them after assessing:

  • A false claim was submitted to the government.
  • The employer or company had prior knowledge it was false
  • Defendant ignored or disregarded the “truth or falsity” of the claim.

In court, the focus goes entirely to the defendant’s misconduct, not the government’s monetary losses.

Damages in a Qui Tam Case

The damages vary in a qui tam case against the defendant. If found liable, they must pay three times the amount of the government’s loss. The court may also rule a penalty between $5,000 to $10,000 per claim and recover for punitive damages. The following must get paid by the defendant as well:

  • Attorney fees
  • All costs and expenses associated with the lawsuit.

Keep in mind that the losses recovered will not go directly to you. Instead, you would receive a percentage of what the government gets back. Should the government not comply with the contractual agreement after getting involved, an experienced whistleblower retaliation lawyer in LA can fight aggressively to obtain it for you.

The Award

Incentives are associated with the False Claims Act. Any worker that comes forward is entitled to receive an award between 15 to 30% of the recovery. After the legal proceeding in court, the judge will fixate on what the amount should be.

If, for example, the government joins in the lawsuit, and you were not involved in the fraudulent activity, the award offered will be 15 to 25% of what gets recovered. Again, the amount determined goes by who comes forward with the allegations and whether they got involved after the government interfered to stop it.

However, if the whistleblower was involved in committing fraud, the court can reduce the amount. It depends on their level of involvement. If convicted for criminal acts, the court has a right to deny any financial award.

Getting Help For Qui Tam Actions

Not only do qui tam actions help protect public funds and the integrity of government contracts, but it also ensures safe working conditions. If your employer engaged in unlawful activity, chances are they might be engaging in discriminatory behavior, wrongful termination, or violating pay agreements.

You can count on our Los Angeles-based employment attorney to assist you with bringing a qui tam claim if you suspect your employer committed fraud against a government contract or program.

About Mann & Elias

The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems in lawsuits regarding discrimination, wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and more. When your case is in our hands, we hope to minimize stress and concerns associated with work.

Workplace disputes and negotiations can be complicated and uncomfortable between an employee and employer. In many cases, an employer can retaliate, causing individuals to feel disadvantaged in the company. When you retain one of our lawyers, you will be well-protected and advised. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we believe our success is rooted in:

  • 50+ years of trial experience
  • Excellent advocacy skills
  • Intense preparation and research
  • Quality care

Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. In the end, our goal is to understand what you need and achieve the best outcome for you by focusing on those needs. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email info@mannelias.com.

 

 

 

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