Who Can File a Qui Tam Lawsuit?
Clearly, any current employee of a person or entity that is performing fraudulent or criminal acts against the government can file a qui tam lawsuit. All that is needed is enough evidence and supporting documentation to bring the suit. But others are able to file a qui tam lawsuit as well, including the following people and organizations:
- Past employees
- Public interest groups
- State and local governments
The person filing the qui tam suit is called the relator rather than the plaintiff. He or she is entitled to a percentage of the total amount recovered for the government. That percentage falls in the range of 15% to 30% of the penalty recovered; the percentage is on the higher end of the scale if the government declines to join the suit and the relator and his or her lawyer prosecute it on their own. (Although the government has the opportunity to join every qui tam case that is filed, it tends to intervene in only a small percentage of them.)
Qui tam cases cannot be filed in situations that arise out of mistakes or negligence, nor are they filed in cases of tax fraud, which is handled separately under the law. Fraud or serious criminal acts must be happening in order to build a qui tam case. The experienced qui tam lawyers at Sheridan & Murray are well versed in the finer points of when to bring such a suit, so if you are uncertain of whether your particular case falls under the category of qui tam, contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
There is a certain amount of trepidation that goes along with filing a qui tam case, often due to the fear of reprisal from being the whistleblower. However, there are laws in place to protect the rights of employees, and anyone else, who participate in a qui tam lawsuit. The most recent amendment to the Federal False Claims Act, passed in 1986, enumerates protective measures such as reinstatement of the relator’s job with back pay and extra compensation if the relator is harassed or suffers any negative consequences from the person or entity being sued while involved in the case.
Even having these protections under the law, it can feel daunting to bring a qui tam suit against a person or corporation that has a huge stake in making sure you lose. That’s why it’s so important to have a group of lawyers you can trust in your corner. Sheridan & Murray is an established and respected law firm that has served clients in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area and New Jersey for years. Let us help you as we have helped countless other clients. Contact Sheridan & Murray today for your free consultation, and we’ll talk with you about what we can do for your specific case.