What is a Qui Tam Action?

In the following page, a Qui Tam attorney in Washington, DC answers questions about Qui Tam laws, provisions, and the process of filing a qui tam case. Call Tony Munter for a free evaluation of your case.

The term Qui Tam stands for a longer Latin phrase meaning ‘He who sues for himself as well as the king’ and it comes from middle England, the middle ages when one could take legal action on behalf of the king. We use that term to refer to certain laws that have sections which give an individual the right to sue on behalf of the government. So a Qui Tam action means somebody can actually sue in court on behalf of the government.

How Do I Know If I Have a Qui Tam Case?

You could have a Qui Tam case if in fact you have evidence of the government being defrauded. Any government agency or any federal government agency being defrauded could give rise to a False Claims Act case, which is generally thought of as a Qui Tam Act.

How Do I Begin The Qui Tam Process?

Well, the first thing you have to do is talk to an attorney. In many jurisdictions, you can’t file such a case without attorney representation anyway.

Most Qui Tam attorneys will talk to you at least initially on a contingent basis for free and see if you have a case. Then you have to go through a lengthy process of hearing out what exactly the facts are in order to present a case to the government and then ultimately in court.

Are There a Lot of Laws With Qui Tam Provisions?

No, there are not a lot of options with respect to the Qui Tam actions. There are Qui Tam provisions under the Federal False Claims Act and there are Qui Tam provisions with respect to many of the State False Claims Acts. There is at least one State False Claims Act that I know of that does not have a Qui Tam provision.  Strictly speaking, a Qui Tam provision gives the plaintiff-relator the right to go forward in court regardless of whether the relevant government wants to pursue the case.

There are other whistleblower reward laws which don’t generally include the right to go to court to sue on behalf of the government, but do allow individuals to file with particular whistleblower offices. Various government agencies such as the IRS or the Securities Exchange Commission for violations of IRS, Securities Laws, and Commodities Future Trading Commission do allow a whistleblower to obtain a reward if those agencies do something with that information, but those are not strictly speaking Qui Tam actions.