Working With Employment Lawyers

Usually an employment lawyer will contact a False Claims Act attorney when their client has been fired for complaining about something and the employment lawyer may have many different types of claims to consider and they want to know if there’s an underlying false claims act case. It is the attorneys job to work with the employment lawyer to see if it’s possible to pursue a false claims act case in addition to or separate from or as part of the same action.

If the client suffered retaliation for complaining about fraud against the government, it may be possible to fold the whole thing in to one action under the false claims act and the false claims act anti-retaliation provisions for example. Employment lawyers are usually casting about trying to determine if there’s anything in addition to the usual types of damages that they might otherwise be able to obtain for their clients. The aiding lawyer usually tries to defer to them regarding what the employment law related damages are that might affect their clients and then we try to advise the client as to what the best course of action might be.

Preparing for a Whistleblower Case with Employment Co-Counsel

It is important to ask the client as many questions as possible to see what really happened and what they really know. Employment law may involve a lot more direct litigation. False claims act cases usually are filed and sealed and the government then investigates the facts; that’s a little different procedurally. Employment lawyers may be up against different issues in terms of having to file right away to preserve client rights.

A lot of questions are asked and it’s helpful to work with employment lawyers because they know a lot of the questions to ask with respect to that part of the client’s case. It’s always good to work with the employment lawyers in that respect.

False Claims Act Cases Are Unique

They’re unique because other than the federal and state false claims acts, there aren’t many examples for an individual to have standing to sue for somebody else’s harm. Under most tort law, if it’s your knee that got injured in an accident or in a medical malpractice claim, you can sue. Maybe individuals can sue for emotional distress if a loved one is killed or injured, but they would need a pretty direct relationship to the harm in order to sue under most situations in this country. The False Claims Act has a qui tam provision, which allows individuals to sue on behalf of the government and that really is an unusual right. One that we all need to think about and take very seriously and not let anyone take away.

In fact, in the state of Wisconsin the legislature moved to get rid of the Wisconsin state False Claims Act. These cases can be very complicated cases. Usually because government contracting is relatively big business and/or if it’s a healthcare case, there’s a large regulatory structure involved. It can get complicated even in a case which is a clear violation of the anti-kickback statute even when that law provides essentially direct liability for the False Claims Act. You still have to show what the inducement was, and how the anti-kickback statute was violated. Who did what to get some kind of wrongful referral or wrongful business or induce a doctor or a service provider to buy a particular product or drug.

There are safe harbors under the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute. That can get complicated quickly. If it’s a defense contract, it’s likely to involve a lot of money and a lot of specifics and a lot of specifications that can get complicated.

What complicates false claims act cases is usually the industry from which the case arrives to the lawyer and the lawyer has to know about the False Claims Act and sometimes rely on the client for their expertise in the industry or at least work with the client to become more expert in it.