False Claims and Qui Tam Litigation

The federal False Claims Act authorizes a private party or “relator” to sue individuals and government contractors for alleged wrongdoing. These lawsuits are referred to as qui tam actions. Typically, these cases develop from a disgruntled or unhappy employee who strikes back at a company for perceived mistreatment. However, the claims can disrupt a business and lead to significant potential liability, especially in industries such as health care and defense contracting. States have similar false claims acts as well. Very often a criminal investigation commences along with the filing of a qui tam action. We represent clients in all aspects of these cases—civil and criminal. In fact, in one particularly complex case we were able to resolve a potential qui tam matter following cross-examination of the relator in an employee contract suit he had filed against a hospital system. We have also been involved in another case where an employee joined a company with the express purpose of trying to find something he could sue about and strike it rich in a qui tam case. It is critical to appreciate the potential connection between an actual or threatened qui tam case and a possible related criminal investigation. Counsel must be prepared to defend against civil claims as well as criminal allegations. We provide those services to our clients who need them.