False Claims and Qui Tam Litigation
Attorneys at Elliott Greenleaf have extensive expertise in representing whistleblowers under Federal False Claims Act. This includes the lead attorney in the Zyvox case which was part of the $2.3 billion Pfizer settlement in September 2009, as well as co-counsel for the whistleblower in the $425 million settlement against Cephalon. Also among the firm’s attorneys is a former Federal District Judge, who presided over whistleblower cases while on the Federal Bench. The firm’s attorneys have deep experience in complex commercial litigation and forensic investigations involving allegations of fraudulent and improper business practices, including the prosecution and defense of such claims, which further enhances the proper evaluation, investigation and presentation of whistleblower actions.
The False Claims Act is a federal statute that enables individuals (commonly referred to as “Relators”) to file lawsuits on the federal government’s behalf when the government has been defrauded. Numerous states and some cities now have their own False Claims Act. Lawsuits filed under the False Claims Act are also referred to as “qui tam” lawsuits or whistleblower lawsuits. The whistleblower, or Relator, is legally “standing in the shoes of the government” when the he or she files the lawsuit, and is entitled to be paid from 15 to 30 percent of whatever amount the government recovers as a result of their qui tam lawsuits. The Relator does not have to be personally injured by the fraud in order to file suit. The False Claims Act does require, however, that the Relator has knowledge that the defendants engaged in a fraud against the federal or state government(s). Many “whistleblowers“ or Relators are often employees or former employees of companies that commit the fraud, although a relators/whistleblowers have also included patients, customers, competitors, or even relatives of employees or former employees, with knowledge of the fraud against the federal or state government.
Although pharmaceutical settlements are the best known qui tam cases, whistleblowers can also recover a percentage of damages for other kinds of fraud they expose, such as “Ghost” billing of government agencies, Medicare billing fraud, and income tax fraud.
For a free consultation for your case, please contact Frederick P. Santarelli.