The False Claims Act is the primary enforcement tool used by the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue civil remedies for submission of false or fraudulent claims to the federal government. The statute includes an ancient legal device called a qui tam provision which allows a private party who has information concerning the submission of false or fraudulent claims to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the United States. Industries that have been targets of whistle blower claims in recent years include the health care industry and military contractors.
The potential benefit to the qui tam relator C and the corresponding risk to the target of the investigation C are substantial. The False Claims Act provides for liability for triple damages and a penalty from $5,000 to $10,000 per claim for anyone who knowingly submits or causes the submission of a false or fraudulent claim to the United States. In addition to significant economic penalties, targets of qui tam actions may also face criminal charges and exclusion and debarment from future government contracting. The statute also provides an incentive to relators by permitting them to share between 15% and 30% of any award or settlement amount as well as recover a reasonable attorneys fee.
The stakes are high for all sides in qui tam litigation. In addition, the False Claims Act includes a specific and detailed process for the filing and pursuit of these claims.
The lawyers at Myers, Brier & Kelly, LLP have strong substantive knowledge in this area and significant experience in representing both reltors and targets of qui tam claims and investigations.