Qui Tam Definition
Simply put, qui tam means that an action is initiated by a citizen, known as a relator or whistleblower, against a company, person or entity, which he or she knows is cheating the federal government or possibly a local government somehow. Considering that the qui tam suit is created by the relator for the government, these entities could possibly join the case and litigate with the accuser’s legal team.
Qui Tam Act
This is a set of provisions that are part of the federal government’s False Claims Act. This qui tam statute was developed to ensure that private citizens like you, may bring an instance to court in the government. However, you cannot make just any law suit and represent the USA government.
How Do You Pronounce Qui Tam?
There are two qui tam pronunciations. Some people like to say “kwee tahm” and some like to call it “key tahm”. It’s up to each person how they would like to say the phrase.
What Types of Cases are believed to be Qui Tam?
These situations involve a small business or person who carries a contract with the US government and is committing fraud against the US government at the same time. By way of example, just one famous case, a pharmaceutical company was selling medications that were not approved by the FDA to government entities into its Medicare program.
How Qui Tam Works
The seal used with all the federal government after filing a qui tam suit is definitely an important section of each one of these whistleblower suits brought against fraudulent organizations. As a component in the suit, the number of case under seal marks the specific time where the government’s attorneys and advisors plus the Department of Justice may check out lawsuit. After some time has lapsed, the government will decide if they will get involved in the case or not.
After a suit is filed, it is then under seal and private to the court only. This means anyone not involved in the case does not have the right to see any information. The Department of Justice and they can share it with the attorney assigned to the case as well as the judge that is assigned. Any other parties must have court permission to view data that is on file regarding the law suit. This may be requested by the US Department of Justice.
The seal is valid for 60 days. In this time frame, government entities must recognize if the case has enough evidence to be transferred to federal attorneys. Though the standard is 2 months, more time may be requested if necessary with the court’s approval.
There are two circumstances in which this seal can be nullified. The government can make all files related to the law suit public or the plaintiff can drop the case.
Qui Tam on a State Level
As government entities have consistently illustrated the success of the False Claims Act and other qui tam lawsuits, so many state governments have produced their own unique versions of the laws to stop fraud that occurs in the state. Similar to many state concerns, it makes sense that a variety of different whistleblower laws may change from one jurisdiction to the other.
According to the state’s interpretation of their local concerns, regulations may be harsh related to what whistleblowers claim.
Fraud can be a tough problem that is a concern for all governments. However, because the company gets bigger, the amounts cheated also rise, as well as the size of the average contract. Government entities work with a huge amount of fraud in each major industry annually. Although the state government amounts are significantly lower, the legislation is still required.
In certain states, the difficulty of fraud is addressed only if it’s related to state run public programs. As healthcare fraud is generally a serious problem, it is usually regarded this way by the state as well. For a lot of states, whistleblower laws do not even extend beyond the healthcare system. They offer only protection and rewards to prospects filing Medicaid claims fraudulently or state health benefit programs.
You won’t find many states that have no official laws related to this issue. As an alternative to full legislation that controls the whistleblower system, rewards are offered when the claims they’ve made against dishonestly operating companies are true and damages are recovered. Conversely, there are several states that have much lower standards in relation to what makes a qui tam claim, so the parties at fault have a much better chance at stopping illegal activity.
Fraud on a state level that has an effect on important public programs or service contracts is really a serious problem for the US government as well as the taxpaying population. You can visit an attorney that specializes in this area to get more information on lawsuits.
Famous Healthcare Whistleblower Lawsuits
The U.S. government has recovered a huge amount of dollars thanks to enforcing the False Claims Act (FCA), as a result of people who are willing to help expose any type of fraud. Whistleblower actions, referred to as qui tam lawsuits, constitute 90% of the fraud cases from the healthcare industry and, when the federal government gets involved and wins, the people who expose illegal activity share between 15 to 25% from the recovery.
The Most Popular Qui Tam Lawsuits
The case against HCA lasted for over 10 years and then finally, the company pleaded guilty. The company had to pay a whopping $840,000,000 fine and another $600,000,000 + just to settle this. They were guilty of many violations that constituted the fines.
Johnson and Johnson also had a case against it because of the defective devices for blood testing. In this case, those who brought the company to justice received more than $6,000,000 in rewards from this settlement. During the year 2001, the US government was able to recover over $30,000,000.
In the year 2009, Pfizer settled a lawsuit that cost the company over $100 bill dollars. The company was exposed by whistleblowers and was found guilty of marketing off-label drugs. You can imagine how much the whistleblowers got in rewards.
Some False Claims Act violators were also expected to sign long-term Corporate Integrity Agreements to allow independent, outside watchdogs to supervise their company practices to secure a length of quite a while.
The US government recovered in excess of $3 billion in around 150 qui tam lawsuits. The largest case settlement totaled around $2.7 billion and most of them were related to the health care filed. More than 75% of those involved pharmaceuticals.
States and Qui Tam Lawsuits
States and cities have seen government effectiveness of qui tam lawsuits and now have cut back false claims and increased their revenues. With the enforcement of the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act, which states increased the recovery of Medicaid fraud with a higher prosecution rate. Many states developed their own version of the Act.
Whistleblowing as being a Business
There are people who build a business based on exposing fraudulent activity in the health care field. These businesses are able to recover millions year and stop Medicare fraud. These types of companies may also be hired to keep an eye on companies that have had cases filed against them to ensure they don’t engage in criminal activity again.