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Qui tam relators: Recovery structure concerns

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2024 | Qui Tam Cases

Qui tam actions enable a citizen to file a lawsuit on behalf of the government against an individual or a company for criminal acts that defraud the government. This is done under the False Claims Act, which provides specific information about whistleblower actions.

A whistleblower is known as a qui tam relator. They are more than just informants in these cases. They act as plaintiffs, even though they generally don’t suffer the harm themselves from the fraud they’re bringing to light.

Rewards for whistleblowers

Qui tam cases come with a financial incentive for the relator. Under the False Claims Act, the relator is entitled to a specific portion of the recovered funds. This varies based on the specific circumstances of the case.

The government can opt to intervene in the lawsuit that’s brought by the relator, through his or her private attorney. If this occurs, the relator is entitled to receive 15 to 25% of what’s recovered as a result of the case unless there’s a statutory bar on qui tam action.

There are times when the government won’t intervene. The relator has the option of continuing the case using a private attorney. When this happens, the relator is entitled to 25 to 30% of the recovered funds unless there’s a statutory bar on qui tam action.

The financial incentives are meant to encourage individuals to step forward even though there are specific risks. These include the possibility of having to deal with professional ostracism or retaliation. Retaliation based on a qui tam action is illegal, so the relator may take legal action if they have to deal with this.

Protections for retaliation

The False Claims Act provides protections for whistleblowers against retaliation, including reinstatement, double back pay and compensation for any legal costs incurred. This creates a safer environment for individuals to report fraud against the government and ensures that they are compensated for their contributions to justice and public integrity.

Qui tam actions are complex, so relators must ensure they understand their responsibilities and rights. Seeking legal guidance can help them to get their case established and provide them with valuable information as they move through the legal process.