What If Somebody Else Has The Same Whistleblower Case?

We don’t mean to put you under any extra pressure, but the fact is that there is a first to file bar under the False Claims Act.

First to File Bar

That means the person who is able to file the allegations first, is the one who generally has the right to a share in any recovery from what the government collects. Anyone else could be “barred” or prevented from earning a collection.

Of course, there have been many cases, and many successful recoveries, which involved co-plaintiffs of two or more people. Sometimes one person knows about one set of allegations and another knows about a totally different set of facts, all against the same defendant. It is sometimes possible to agree to share a reward even after the cases are filed, but it is not always possible. So, you and your lawyer would prefer to be the first to file your allegations, of course.

Maybe you have a friend or co-worker who also wants to file a case and you want to work with that person. Nothing prevents you from initially filing a case with another person as joint plaintiffs. Arrangements to file a case, in effect, as a partner with another person are fine, as long as everybody understands who will share in the recovery and everyone is in agreement about that. You and your attorney and any other person you want to work with must be very clear about the terms of any joint representation. Joint representations are pretty common in False Claims Act cases, so it should be possible to file a case this way.

Obviously, you should be aware of the first to file bar under the False Claims Act. There are similar provisions in almost virtually every other qui tam law as well. While filing a case like this is a very difficult decision, you should make up your mind as to whether you want to file as soon as you can. Your lawyer will have other cases and no matter how fast they may want to file the case, it can take some time to handle all the work involved in filing the case. Of course, you should especially make your lawyer aware if you have a strong reason to believe that somebody else may be filing a similar case.

Unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure, whether somebody else has filed a case, months, or even years in advance of your case. False Claims Cases are filed under seal and investigated under seal. That means even the fact that somebody filed a similar case, much less who filed it, remains a secret for quite some time. It is not possible for your lawyer to confirm when another case making the same claims has already been filed. You just have to file your case first and then see what, if anything, the government already knows about the matter. Visit this page for more whistleblower information.