Qui Tam Myths and Misconceptions

Tony Munter, a Qui Tam lawyer, discusses some common misconceptions surrounding Qui Tam laws. If you want to file a claim in DC, don’t hesitate to contact Tony Munter to further examine your case.

#1 You Can’t Sue the Government Under Qui Tam

People think it is a little bit broader than it is. It is very broad in the sense that almost any fraud or misrepresentation to obtain money committed against the Federal Government can be the subject of a False Claims Act case. Some people think it gives them the right to sue the government or confers some broad anti-fraud right, which it does not. The government has to be a victim. They can’t be the wrongdoer in Qui Tam action.

#2 Qui Tams Are Like Contract Disputes

Another misconception is that it is equivalent to a contract dispute in which perhaps negligence or poor contracting or something like that is at stake. In Qui Tam action, you really need knowing violation of some kind and that something that could be considered to be fraud or misrepresentation and that is a much higher standard in terms of what you will be required to show to prove an action.

#3 Qui Tam Cases Are Simple

There has been a lot of success lately and quite naturally the government and False Claims Act lawyers want to promote the False Claims Act. One way to promote the False Claims Act is to talk about some great successful cases and that is important. Of course, I am glad that that is happening, but I think it is also creating situations where some expectations maybe a little bit inflated as to how it can happen on any individual case.

These cases are complicated by definition. Large government contracting fraud cases are always going to be more complicated and difficult. They take a long, long time and I think people need to remember that.

#4 Qui Tam Cases Are Easy If You Have a Strong Case

The other misconception perhaps promoted by those who would prefer the law was a little less successful is that the money sort of just falls of the sky in the laps of the plaintiff. That this is all so easy. Nothing could be further from the truth than that.

Successful False Claims Act relators and plaintiffs have to be willing to go for a lengthy process and really care about their case and work for a long time and wait a long time. In many cases, they may have suffered prior to filing the case. It is not an easy thing to be a whistleblower and I think people need to remember that.

Why Do These Myths Exist?

That it is difficult for people to know what was applied to their case and That people who are in a position to find out a wrongdoing and who get upset want some law to exist that works and they have heard of the False Claims Act or Qui Tam and they think it is out there for them. In some cases, it can be, but They just don’t know as much about it as they would like.

On the fraud versus contract dispute type of misconception, Part of that is some whining by those who had to pay to Qui Tam actions trying to make it seem that they are having to pay for things that are not so bad when in fact the law really only works if that misbehavior is really quite serious.