South Carolina Qui Tam Attorneys
Under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, the relator (plaintiff) files an action on behalf of the U.S. Government. The Act allows a wide variety of people and entities to file a qui tam action. The more common types of relators include:
An employee who blows the whistle on his or her employer (commonly known as a “whistleblower”) is one of the most common types of relators. Many employees normally file qui tam actions against their employers after repeated attempts to resolve the issues internally have met with negative results. This can be as simple as an employee calling into a compliance hotline or something as serious as reporting the incident to a supervisor. However, employees who file a qui tam action, or those that assist in furthering an action, are legally protected against job retaliation by the employer.
Current and Former Federal Employees
One group of employees that have a difficult time bringing qui tam actions are current and former federal employees. While the law doesn’t exclude federal employees from bringing suit, it raises concerns:
- does a federal employee filing an action have a conflict of interest?
- Are federal employees obligated to disclose the fraud to their employer, rather than suing the employer?
The courts have been split on whether a federal employee has standing to bring suit, but the fact that the Department of Justice frowns on this type of relator adds to the problem.
Another common type of whistleblower that files a qui tam action is a former employee who has direct knowledge of fraud on the part of their former employer. In many cases, the former employee was terminated, or quit under duress, for trying to blow the whistle internally.
Competitors and Subcontractors:
Another type of relator is the competitor of the company being charged or an employee of the competitor who has direct knowledge of the fraud being committed. Also, companies or persons who subcontract with a government contractor can file a qui tam action against the contractor if they have direct knowledge of the fraud being committed.
If you are personally aware of a fraud that has been committed by your current or former employer, a competitor or otherwise, contact the Qui Tam attorneys at the Strom Law Firm today for a no cost consultation to discuss the facts of your case and whether filing a qui tam may be appropriate.