Process for Filing a False Claims Act Case

The process for filing a False Claims Act case involves at least two documents: an initial disclosure to the government and a complaint filed under seal in court. However, preparing an initial disclosure and complaint is an extensive and involved process requiring the counsel and Whistleblower, called a Relator, in this case, to work extensively over whatever facts may be involved. For more information, or for help with filing a False Claims Act claim, speak with a seasoned attorney today.

What is a Disclosure?

The disclosure provides an opportunity for the Relator to stake a claim as an original source of the material and allegations in a complaint. One of the ways that a Relator can overcome the public disclosure bar is to claim original source status. To accomplish this, the Relator would provide the government with information regarding the allegations made in the complaint prior to filing the complaint. With this in mind, most people file a disclosure prior to filing a complaint.

Unique Aspects of Filing a False Claims Act Case

The process for filing a False Claims Act case is different than most civil actions because it immediately must be filed under seal. Most complaints are a matter of public record from the beginning and are not filed under seal. This is something the Relator and an attorney must be careful not to violate the seal.

Importance of Filing Under Seal

The importance of filing under seal is to provide the government with an opportunity to investigate the allegations without the public knowing about it. There has been some push from Relators to keep matters sealed once the case is dismissed. However, because the initial purpose of the seal is to provide the government with an opportunity to investigate the case, the government could keep the matter under seal.

Courts Attitude Toward Extending a Seal

Some courts and judges have gotten less willing to extend the seal and have been more aggressive in demanding that the government demonstrate its need to continue an investigation a case under seal. Some public organizations do not like the seal because it is keeping matters from public view, at least temporarily, and have opposed it. It has also provided benefits both to Relators and even to defendants. When a Relator files a case in good faith and they could potentially be the subject of retaliation, it can protect them at least for some period of time while the government investigates the claim.

Importance of Retaining the Services of an Attorney

One of the main reasons a person should hire an attorney is for legal protection. When filing a False Claims Act, whistleblowers may feel attacked or pressured from the company accused of violating the False Claims Act. People in this situation could hire an attorney to act as an advocate on their behalf, meanwhile they assist the government with the investigation. It is important to contact an attorney early on in the case. A lawyer could keep you from making critical mistakes in the beginning stages of a claim and inform you of your rights throughout process for filing a False Claims Act case. For more information, contact an attorney today.