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What is Lincoln's law, and how did it come about?

One law that you may not be aware of but that has a major influence on the United States is Lincoln's law. This was the foundation for the current False Claims Act, an act that now plays a consistent role in U.S. history. A case, identified as Universal Health Services v. United States ex rel Escobar, is one brought against the company by an individual who claims that contractors have defrauded the government.

Whistleblowers have the potential to earn between 15 and 30 percent of the recovery after a case like this is won. Individuals with knowledge of fraud against the government receive this as a sort of incentive to bring forward information.

The main issue in the above case is whether or not a contractor is liable to a government if it implies a false certification instead of making an express false certification. Essentially, what happens if a contractor knows the goods aren't up to standard but makes no claim that they are?

This kind of action is why Lincoln's law was created to begin with. This law passed all the way back during the Civil War. Lincoln's law, or the False Claims Act, was created after the Union Army suffered from con-artist contractors who sold them unsuitable goods, like sawdust instead of gunpowder.

In the current case, the parents are the whistleblowers. They claim that their child was treated at Universal Health Services and received counseling from unqualified and unlicensed counselors despite Medicaid requirements. The company then billed the government in a way that made it appear that the individuals had licensing. As a result of the unlicensed care, the couple's child took her own life.

If you know of a company defrauding the government, you can file a False Claims Act lawsuit as well. Your attorney can help you get started.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "‘Lincoln’s law’: The most important Supreme Court case under the radar," Harry Litman, accessed May 01, 2017

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