blog home Qui Tam Qui Tam Procedures: A Guide for Potential Plaintiffs

Qui Tam Procedures: A Guide for Potential Plaintiffs

By Jason Bottlinger on February 22, 2024

Imagine that an employee of a healthcare company discovers that it is overbilling Medicare. Acting as a whistleblower, the employee can file a qui tam lawsuit against the company on behalf of the government. Qui tam procedures serve a vital function in society by incentivizing individuals to expose wrongdoing and recover ill-gotten gains, thus safeguarding public resources.

Understanding Qui Tam

Qui tam cases are derived from the Latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur,” translated to English as “Who sues on behalf of the King as well as for himself.” A qui tam legal action is initiated by private individuals against individuals or organizations believed to have defrauded the government. Individuals who initiate the qui tam process are called a “qui tam relator” or a whistleblower.

In medieval England, qui tam laws were designed to empower private citizens to act as watchdogs against fraud against the crown. Today, qui tam cases play a crucial role in uncovering fraud against the government, particularly in areas such as healthcare, defense contracting, and financial services.

Who Can File a Qui Tam Lawsuit?

Not just anyone can file a qui tam lawsuit. Eligibility criteria typically require that the individual have firsthand knowledge of the fraudulent activity and that the fraud involves government funds or programs. Potential plaintiffs may include employees or former employees of the defrauding entity, competitors who have been harmed by the fraud, or individuals with insider knowledge of the fraudulent schemes.

The Qui Tam Process

Filing a qui tam lawsuit involves several key steps, including:

  • Identify fraud: Recognize fraudulent activity against the government, such as overbilling or false claims.
  • Consultation: Seek legal advice from a qui tam lawyer experienced in whistleblower cases.
  • Gather evidence: Collect thorough documentation, including invoices, emails, or insider information.
  • Draft Complaint: Prepare a detailed complaint outlining the fraud, adhering to legal requirements.
  • File lawsuit: Submit the complaint under seal to a federal district court, notifying the government of the allegations.
  • Government investigation: Authorities review the case in secret to decide whether to intervene.
  • Litigation: If the government intervenes, proceed with litigation; if not, the whistleblower can pursue the case independently.
  • Resolution: The case concludes with a settlement, trial verdict, or dismissal, potentially resulting in compensation for the whistleblower.

Common Challenges and How To Overcome Them

Qui tam cases are not without their challenges. One common challenge is the statute of limitations, which imposes deadlines for filing qui tam lawsuits. This is why it’s important to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Potential whistleblowers also face risks such as retaliation from their employers, but various protections exist, including anti-retaliation provisions under the False Claims Act. An Omaha qui tam lawyer can help navigate these challenges and provide legal guidance on how to proceed.

Potential Rewards for Whistleblowers

One of the primary incentives for individuals to come forward with information about fraud is the potential for financial rewards. Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers are entitled to receive a percentage of any funds recovered by the government from the lawsuit. This percentage typically ranges from 15% to 30%, depending on various factors, including the extent of the whistleblower’s involvement in the case.

Finding the Right Omaha Qui Tam Attorney

When considering filing a qui tam lawsuit, it is critical to be represented by the right attorney. Look for an attorney who has a successful track record handling whistleblower cases. Qualities to look for include specialized knowledge in qui tam litigation, a deep familiarity with relevant laws and regulations, and a commitment to protecting the interests of whistleblowers. With the guidance of the right attorney, potential plaintiffs can navigate the complexities of qui tam litigation and maximize their chances of success.

Take a Stand Against Fraud

If you suspect fraudulent activities against the government, we want to hear about it. Connect with a seasoned Omaha qui tam attorney at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. for dedicated legal support and guidance.

Now is the time to take action—call (402) 505-8234 today.

Related Articles:

Posted in: Qui Tam

Bottlinger Law
Consultation Form

Our legal team is ready to help. Please fill out the form below to set up a free consultation with the Bottlinger Law team.