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Protection for Whistleblowers in South Carolina – Qui Tam Lawsuit

South Carolina Qui Tam Lawsuit

What is a Qui Tam lawsuit?

The False Claims Act, also known as the Whistleblower Act or a qui tam lawsuit, is intended to encourage people to come forward with information and assist the government in stopping the waste of Government funds.

Common whistle blower actions include:

  •  Medicare fraud,
  • defense contractor fraud, and
  • other kinds of fraud.

To bring a qui tam action under the statute, an individual must have personal knowledge and actual evidence of fraud. Successful qui tam claimants will be rewarded a portion of the money the government recovers.

At the Strom Law Firm, LLC our qui tam lawyers have the experience and federal government contacts necessary to ensure that your rights and interest are protected.

What Does Qui Tam Mean?

Qui Tam” are the first words of a Latin clause referring to the plaintiff as “one who sues as much for the state as for himself or herself.”

It is a provision of the Federal Civil False Claims Act that allows a private citizen to file a suit, in the name of the U.S. Government, charging fraud by government contractors and other entities that receive or use government funds.

These private citizens, known as “relators” or “whistleblowers,” relate information to the government and share in any money recovered.

Qui tam lawsuits have been, and continue to be, a very effective and successful tool in combating government procurement and program fraud.

Bolstered by amendments passed by Congress in 1986, the law has armed private citizens who have independent and direct knowledge of fraud, with a weapon to prosecute government contractors and others who are defrauding the Government.

Private citizens, however, are not the only ones that may bring a qui tam lawsuit; a wide variety of relators may bring suit.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Bring a Qui Tam Suit?

Technically, no. As a practical matter, absolutely.

In order for a qui tam lawsuit to succeed, a lawsuit must be filed with the federal government. While a person could file a qui tam case without a lawyer, such a case is unlikely to be as successful as it would be if an attorney is involved. Due to the volume of qui tam cases filed with the U.S. Justice Department (over 300 cases per year since 1996), and the limited number of Justice Department lawyers working on them, only those cases that are well presented with strong evidence are likely to be joined by the federal government. Your attorney’s primary responsibility is to help you shape the case and present it to the Justice Department.

While the U.S. Justice Department only joins about 25% of qui tam cases, the cases it does participate in are settled or won over 85 percent of the time. If the Justice Department declines to join your qui tam case, the odds of success drop to 20 percent. While this does not make the suit impossible, it does emphasize the importance of using an attorney from the beginning to present the government with the strongest case possible.

How Can You Afford a Lawyer?

Qui Tam attorneys usually work for a contingency fee. This means that, as a whistleblower, you pay nothing at all to have a lawyer examine your case. If we feel you have a case, we will work with you to determine the contingency fee (i.e. the portion of the relator’s share) that we will receive should the case prevail in court.

What does an attorney bring to the table that justifies a portion of the relator’s share? The short answer is legal experience, and contacts with the people who can assist you during the development and prosecution of your case. Many cases have been won or lost based on discussions and negotiations with the government. At Strom Law Firm, our attorneys have the experience and the resources to ensure that your case goes smoothly.

If you have direct knowledge of fraud against the government and believe you have a qui tam case, contact us by clicking here.

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