False Claims Act Whistleblower

The False Claims Act provides that ¨Any employee who is discharged; or demoted; or suspended; or threatened; or harassed; or in any manner discriminated against is entitled to bring an action for reinstatement with same seniority; 2 times back pay with interest; special damages; emotional distress; attorneys’ fees and costs. No punitive damages are available. An “employee” includes: temporary worker; and demoted worker; and discharged worker. An independent contractor is not an employee. A false claims act whistleblower should expect harassment in the form of counterclaims filed in the retaliation action; industry blackballing; unprovable but real retaliation; reassignment for ostensibly unrelated reasons; other non-compensatable harassment; possible losing the case; and paying attorney fees and costs if the retaliation case is deemed frivolous. More on False Claims Act Whistleblower Protection Washington State False Claims Act Qui Tam (False Claims Act) procedure False Claims Act (statute) Share...

Qui Tam Law Overview

The traditional name for cases which attempt to recover money defrauded from the king is “Qui Tam” litigation. Qui Tam is pronounced “kee tam” or “kway tam”) and is an abbreviation from the Latin “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro sic ipso in hoc parte sequitur” meaning “who as well for the king as for himself sues in this matter.” History of Qui Tam Laws in the United States Qui tam legal actions can be traced back as far as 13th Century England where they were used by private citizens to gain access to the king’s court. The U.S. legal system, derived from the British system, allowed qui tam actions since the nation’s founding in 1776. They were rare. During the Civil War, Congressional hearings investigated widespread instances of military contractor fraud including defective products, substitution of inferior material, and illegal price gouging. At the urging of Abraham Lincoln, a former practicing lawyer, Congress enacted the Civil False Claims Act in 1863 as a weapon to fight procurement fraud. This law has also been known as the “Lincoln Law” and the “Informer’s Act.” The False Claims Act was designed to entice whistleblowers to come forward by offering them a share of the money recovered. Even though this Act was enacted to combat military contractor fraud, it was applicable to all government contractors, federal programs and any other instances involving the use of federal revenue. The Act allowed any person to act as a “private attorney general” and sue for recovery of the money taken. The named plaintiff on the action is the United States Government. The one filing...

Qui Tam Legal Theories

Qui Tam Legal Theories Used in Litigation Some of the more common theories used to prosecute False Claims Act cases are: 1.) Violations of Contract Provisions: “[P]arties that contract with the government are held to the letter of the contract – irrespective of whether the contract terms appear onerous from an ex post perspective, or whether the contract’s purpose could be effectuated in some other way – – under the maxim that ‘men must turn square corners when they deal with the Government.'” “[T]he mere fact that the item supplied under the contract is as good as the one contracted for does not relieve the defendants of liability” if the item does not in fact conform to the express contract terms. Failure to comply with: Military Specifications (MIL-SPECS): Specific Military Standards for processes and designs usually incorporated into military contracts for equipment. Failure to Test: Many government contracts call for items to be tested in a specific manner. Often items are tested in a less strenuous manner, the tests are manipulated so the item passes, or the item is not tested at all. Failure to Inspect: Contracts with the government often require specific inspections to be performed at certain intervals in the manufacturing process. 2.) Procurement: Any false certification that items furnished under a contract with the government are “of the quality specified and conform in all respects with contract requirements, including specifications . . . .” constitutes an FCA violation. Such certifications are often required on documents submitted to the government for payment. 3.) Engineering Changes and Pricing: When a government contractor wants to alter the design of...