False Claims Act allows people with inside information about fraud against the government to come forward and help the government prosecute the wrongdoers. Whistleblowers get a percentage of any money recovered.
Whistleblowers need to understand the role of whistleblower lawyers in court proceedings in order to bring a successful claim. A knowledgeable, experienced, and professional licensed South Dakota Whistleblower attorney is essential in handling a situation of such complexity and nuance. Whistleblowers' attorneys play a significant role in the process.
Attorneys for whistleblowers usually begin by getting to know their clients. The first meeting often consists of several lawyers, a paralegal, and the whistleblower. By learning what the whistleblower knows, the lawyers are able to determine whether that person has a valid claim.
Once a cause of action is established, the lawyers evaluate the facts, documents, and evidence offered by the whistleblower to determine whether it fits under the False Claims Act or another whistleblower law, such as the Securities Fraud Act.
This meeting is to determine if there appears to be sufficient evidence to satisfy the standards of the federal courts. If so, they begin the investigation process.
If the lawyers believe there is sufficient evidence to meet the courts' threshold, they will conduct a more thorough investigation. A lawyer for whistleblower in South Dakota should examine the facts, evidence, and charges, and figure out the best way to present the case to the U.S. Attorney and the DOJ. The best whistleblower lawyer in South Dakota conducts research, speaks to witnesses and handles other aspects of the investigation.
Once the lawyers have gathered and organized the claim, they file it under seal with the U.S. Attorney and take additional steps to protect the whistleblower. Whistleblower claims under the False Claims Act do not become public records unless the government takes no action.
In this stage, the lawyers anticipate a long battle. False Claims Act cases are lengthy and nuanced, so it is likely that the other side will use legal firepower to fight back and obtain a summary judgment or motion to dismiss.
Attorneys must wait for the Office of the U.S. Attorney to decide whether to intervene and take over the case. While they wait, however, they do not stand idly by. During this stage, whistleblower lawyers should assist the U.S. Attorney by providing necessary information, flying in experts as needed, and providing assistance with the investigation as needed.
When the U.S. Attorney takes the case, the whistleblower and their lawyers step back and support the case in a supporting role. They provide evidence, clarifications, and documentation when needed.
If the U.S. Attorney reviews the case and the evidence presented by the whistleblower and, for whatever reason, decides not to pursue it, the whistleblower and attorneys must decide whether to proceed without the DOJ. The law firm has all the costs associated with a private lawsuit, including investigation, hiring expert witnesses, and paying court fees.
If you plan to file a suit on behalf of the government, it may be necessary to hire a lawyer for whistleblowers. Many of these cases fall under the False Claims Act (FCA), although there are other federal laws that apply to such cases. Fraudulent claims for payment to the government are typically involved in such cases. Although whistleblowers are protected from retaliation, they still face risks. An attorney can also provide legal help to stop a corrupt business practice with your lawsuit.
Lawyers who commit to this field full-time can find it rewarding because of their commitment to the field. Working with committed whistleblowers is what makes whistleblower lawyers most proud of their careers. One of the most important things you can look for in a whistleblower lawyer in your city is an attorney who will devote the time and resources necessary to help you.
If you are considering hiring a lawyer...
Finding the right qui tam litigation team in my area can be challenging for whistleblowers. Finding the right firm to obtain legal advice makes all the difference. The following are some questions every whistleblower needs to ask when selecting a firm to represent them and protect them:
What is the firm's track record in qui tam litigation?
Is the law firm familiar with your industry? Are they familiar with the nuances of your trade?
If the government does not intervene, will the law firm withdraw? The government usually does not join a lawsuit, but that is the objective. Most qui tam actions are not taken by the government.
Has the law firm ever litigated cases if the matter goes to court?
When the government declines to participate, will the firm broker or refer you to another legal team?
What are the firm's sources of revenue? Does the firm charge hourly fees or do they have contingency fees, where they take a fixed percentage of compensation, only if the case has a successful outcome?
There are many whistleblower lawyers in the United States who work on a contingency fee basis. The whistleblower does not need to pay the attorney anything if he or she loses the case. In general, though, the whistleblower's attorney will obtain a contingent fee of between 30-40% if they win the case.
In addition, many whistleblower state laws provide for "statutory fees." In this case, the company is required to pay all "reasonable" fees incurred on behalf of the whistleblower.
For several reasons, many firms will charge a whistleblower an hourly fee even if they have a contingency fee arrangement. Paying a legal professional's fee is not a good reason to reject legal representation.
Wrongful Termination lawyers near you will talk to you about the fees they may charge during the initial consultation. You may be able to find attorneys in your area who charge hourly, flat, or contingency fees.
You should discuss the fee arrangement with an attorney during your initial consultation, especially if the fee will have a significant impact on whether or not you hire him. Ask if your consultation is free before you attend; most initial consultations are free.
Lincoln signed the False Claims Act into law in 1863 to fight widespread fraud against the federal government and Union troops.
Private individuals can now sue on behalf of the federal government if they have unique insider knowledge about fraud committed against the government. They "relate" information to the government by blowing the whistle.
Qui tam cases are suits brought for both the government and the plaintiff, and by punishing and dissuading fraud, they protect the lives of medical patients, soldiers, citizens, and many others.
Whistleblowers who report fraudulent activities against the government can be compensated under the False Claims Act.
Whistleblower cases typically take about three or four years to resolve. The resolution of some cases is usually much quicker than others.
In the case of a CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) recovery of more than $1 million, a whistleblower is entitled to a reward of 10 percent to 30 percent of the amount recovered.