Qui Tam and Whistleblower cases take a lot of time before there’s an award. From start to finish a claim can take years. The stages of a qui tam claims brought under the False Claims Act are:
- Discovery. The Whistleblower discovers that some misdeed or wrongful conduct is occurring that impacts the Federal Government or an agency of the Federal Government.
- Gathering the Evidence. The Whistleblower starts to gather some of the evidence to show a false claim was filed, documents were altered, services promised weren’t provided or any evidence to show the Government was cheated and/or the public was harmed. The evidence will include documents, financial records, emails, voicemails, photographs, plans and other forms of evidence.
- The Whistleblower contacts a private lawyer. The Federal False Claims Act has specific statute of limitation standards. As soon as you discover any wrong, you should consult with a private Whistleblower lawyer to make sure you file your claim in a timely manner.
- Case Evaluation. The Whistleblower and the lawyer evaluate whether there’s a factual and legal basis for the case to proceed. One of the issues the lawyer will review is whether the disclosure is private or public. Public vs. Private will determine what type of evidence is needed.
- Disclosure Statement. If the Whistleblower and attorney decide the case has merit, the Whistleblower must voluntarily provide the DOJ (Department of Justice) with everything he/she knows about the fraud through a Disclosure Statement. The private lawyer will know whether the Whistleblower can meet the Disclosure statement standards.
- A Complaint is filed under seal. The Whistleblower and lawyer will file a formal action on behalf of the Government. They then file the proper paperwork under the Federal False Claims Act and serve the Government with the lawsuit.
- Government Evaluation. The Government, through the Department of Justice, investigates the claim and decides if there’s a basis for proceeding:
- If the Government decides to proceed, then they file a lawsuit. The Whistleblower and the Private Attorney will then help the Government prosecute the claim. It helps if the DOJ proceeds because they can get the necessary evidence more easily than an plaintiff in a private suit. The Government will review a variety of factors including the likelihood of success, if public safety is involved and whether the case justifies the costs.
- If the Government decides not to proceed with a lawsuit, then the Whistleblower and the attorney decide whether to handle the case themselves.
- The Government can decide to dismiss the case because it doesn’t think it has any merit.
For more on Qui Tam and Whistleblower claims, look here.
Begelman & Orlow, P. C. has offices in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We handle claims anywhere in the country. Contact us at 866-627-7052 for a free initial consultation.