How is Filing a False Claims Act Case Different From Other Whistleblower Cases?

The following is information on False Claims Act cases and how filing one differs from other types of whistleblower cases. To learn more call today and schedule a free consultation with a False Claims Act lawyer today.

Filing a False Claims Act case is different from other whistleblower cases in two or three different respects.

First of all, a False Claims Act case filed by a person is really different than most kinds of cases where you hear about anyone suing over anything because an individual has the right to sue on behalf of the government (pdf).

Usually, you have to sue on behalf of an injury that’s much more directly related to you personally; for example, if you broke your leg, or if you broke your toe. With the False Claims Act, it’s more about being able to sue on behalf of the damages to the government. People get confused about this frequently, by the way; they think that they’re suing because the government messed up. That’s not really a False Claims Act case, either. It’s really a question of whether or not the government was somehow harmed.

Another way that the False Claims Act is really unusual, though it’s not the only type of case where this happens, is that these cases are generally filed under seal. This means that they’re secret for some period of time while the government investigates. So, those are two pretty unusual areas.

And the False Claims Act was the first law in this country that allowed an individual to sue on behalf of the government or to take legal steps that would allow the government to do much of anything about fraud. It created the basis for whistleblowers to be rewarded when they have strong evidence of wrongdoing.

What Is Involved In Filing A Case?

Well, I guess the first thing that’s involved in filing a case is determining whether or not the information the whistleblower has really establishes fraud under the False Claims Act.

Does the client have that type of information? And that can take a while to really determine, I mean people hear about all kinds of things that are bad at the workplace and they may or may not know about information from the inside that provides a basis for the government to understand that fraud was really going on. Just information from anywhere doesn’t quite do it.

But assuming you have that information, you have to sit down with a lawyer and put every drop of evidence that you can possibly think of and talk to your lawyer to prepare a statement that you’ll provide to the government. And then you use that statement as the basis of a complaint and you file the complaint in court serving the government with all these information and working with the government to try and convince them that they should take an action against the defendant.

All that can obviously take quite a while, but those are the steps that are involved in filing a case.

Who Can File a False Claims Act Case?

Almost anyone, with the right information, can file an action under the False Claims Act. What matters is not so much the person who files, but rather the information that a person has. Even federal employees can file a case of fraud committed against the government, with some exceptions. Of course, nothing prevents an employee of a State government from filing a federal False Claims Act case. Military personnel cannot file a case if it involves another member of the armed services and is directly related to their service. However, nothing prevents a member of the armed services from filing a case against a contractor.

Generally speaking the opportunity to file a case under the Federal False Claims Act is extended very broadly to people who have the information the government really needs to fight fraud.