Our attorneys are well-versed in the ins and outs of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) process, the means by which private citizens can sue the United States government for most torts committed by persons acting on behalf of the United States. Whether the case concerns a simple car wreck involving a person driving on behalf of the government or a complex medical malpractice case involving treatment at a government facility such as a Veterans Affairs hospital or a military base hospital such as Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, our attorneys can guide clients through the unique FTCA process.
Filing a Successful False Claims Act Case
A potential whistleblower, debating whether to report fraud per the False Tort Claims Act (FTCA), should be cognizant that securing a qui tam case ahead of any other fellow whistleblowers is a crucial and necessary element in acquiring any potential recovery amount.
The False Tort Claims Act states in relevant part (31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(5)): “…no other person other than the Government may intervene or bring a related action based on the facts underlying the pending action.” This is often referred to within the legal profession as the “first-to-file” rule. It operates to bar subsequent fraud allegation(s) if it is premised on the same key operative nucleus of facts as a previously filed whistleblower claim or preexisting qui tam lawsuit. Accordingly, only the whistleblower that first submits a fraud claim to the government stands to recoup a monetary incentive resulting from their claim.
Elements of a Successful Whistleblower/Qui Tam Claim
Whistleblower/Qui Tam litigation is a highly-specialized mechanism for individuals to assist the government in preventing a multitude of fraud schemes and recover money that has been unlawfully diverted from the U.S. Treasury and its taxpayers.
The FTCA incentivizes whistleblowers whose qui tam file submission enables the recovery of government funds and further provides job protection to potential whistleblowers due to the inherent professional and personal risks they undertake in filing their claim. Due to these risks, it’s vital to know whether you have a legitimate whistleblower/qui tam claim prior to taking formal legal action. If you are contemplating submitting a fraud report against the government, you need to ensure the following criteria beforehand: (1) You have personal and/or first-hand knowledge of the alleged fraud; (2) You have the requisite documentation confirming the claimed illegal activity; (3) The amount of money associated with the claim is substantial; and (4) the qui tam suit is filed within the applicable statute of limitations.
Another key piece of advice for any potential whistleblower is to avoid discussing any aspect of the claim with anyone other than your attorney. Pursuant to the statutory language of the FTCA, your complaint will remain under seal for a period of sixty days. This gives the government an adequate time-frame to conduct a confidential investigation of your claim. The seal works both ways – meaning that if you discuss the matter with anyone other than your attorney, the case may be dismissed and you will lose any potential recovery you might have obtained in subsequent litigation.
Following the investigatory period, the government will make a determination as to whether or not to pursue your claim. Under the FTCA, the whistleblower is entitled to anywhere between a 15% to 30% share of any recovery obtained from the subsequent lawsuit.
If you believe your potential whistleblower claim qualifies under these stipulations, it is vital you hire a dedicated qui tam attorney to ensure the responsible and timely handling of your case to protect your occupational and private interests while maximizing your chances of success.
The Importance of Hiring a Competent Whistleblower/Qui Tam Attorney
At Batson Nolan, our dedicated attorneys understand that confidentiality and reliable access to counsel are important elements of a healthy client/attorney arrangement. As such, we pride ourselves in being responsive to client inquiries and requests for information. Regarding confidentiality, whistleblower cases are handled on a confidential basis. This means that no one other than the court, the federal government, and your attorneys will be aware of the existence of your claim during the initial sixty-day investigatory period.
Following the submission of your qui tam claim, government officials will request to interview you and review any documents you have provided in support of your allegation. Our lawyers will accompany you during this interview to ensure your rights and interests are continually protected. During the subsequent investigation, the legal team at Batson Nolan will maintain consistent contact with the government in order to advance your case as expeditiously as possible. Commonly, the government will seek to extend the sixty-day confidentiality seal to complete its research and build its case. You can rest assured that all updates will be relayed to you accurately and promptly, minimizing any undue stress and anxiety related to your claim.
Successfully navigating the complex and oft-confusing sphere of qui tam litigation is not something you should attempt to undertake on your own. It is imperative that you contact an experience qui tam legal team, like the one you’ll find at Batson Nolan, as soon as you detect potential fraud within an organization. Our knowledgeable attorneys can assist you in ensuring that your claim is submitted both in a timely manner and drafted accurately with all pertinent information, so that it can withstand any subsequent judicial scrutiny or challenge mounted by the defendant. Our lawyers are also well versed in formulating customized trial strategies to differentiate your claim from any previously-filed complaint to avoid your suit from being barred – thereby maximizing your potential recovery amount. If you or someone you know has been physically injured as a result of the actions of someone acting on behalf of the United States government, give one of our attorneys a call for a free consultation concerning your rights of recovery.