Filing a Whistleblower Case With the Government

A whistleblower lawyer, in order to file a case under the False Claims Act, essentially has to have three things in most cases. First, a disclosure of some kind must be presented to the government.

Next, a complaint is filed under seal in federal court. Then you generally take those two documents and turnaround and give them back to the government again. Those are the first two things that are required: (1) an initial disclosure to the government and (2) a complaint filed in court.

Third, there is a requirement under False Claims Act that once you file the complaint, you’ve got to turn over all the evidence that the relator may have. In practice that means, essentially, you take pretty much everything you’ve got and turn it over to the government.

You want to be sure that they have access to any legitimate information that you have to provide them, to strengthen your case.

What Agencies Does a Whistleblower Lawyer Have to File With?

Usually, one files with the US Attorney’s office in the jurisdiction that you are filing the case, and the Attorney General of the United States.

In addition, when there is a state false claim, and either it’s a state action on its own or a part of an action related to a federal False Claims Act case, you have to file with the attorney general of the appropriate state.

A couple of states have additional agencies that they require a filing to be provided.

But in effect, it all works fairly similarly with the federal law where one files with the US Attorney General, the federal government, and the appropriate state authority of similar jurisdiction in most states.

Why Do You Have to Tell The Government About a Whistleblower Case?

The government can pursue False Claims Act cases without whistleblowers, of course. And for a long time, the most difficult part to file False Claims Act case was the public disclosure part.

That part of filing a case has been streamlined under recent amendments. Still, it is good to qualify as an original source of the information that the government would be acting upon on your complaint.

One of the things that you have to do to qualify is an original source is to voluntarily disclose your information prior to filing your action in federal court. In addition, the law requires that the whistleblower provide all the documents to the government after filing the complaint.

So as long as you’ve told the government and file that information with the government, you’re in pretty good shape. The reason for all this is that the government is the so-called “real party in action,” under the False Claims Act.

They are the ones whose money is at risk. And they are the ones that have much more of a stake in the action than the individual does, at least on a monetary basis. That’s why they get the information. They get to investigate, look into the facts and decide if they want to take over the case and support it.

All of that facilitated by the client and the whistleblower attorney, providing the government with the information they need to pursue the case.