Denver Whistleblower & Qui Tam Attorneys
Whistleblowers have a number of remedies available to them, depending on their circumstances. The most spectacular remedy is the False Claims Act, which permits an individual to sue on behalf of the federal government for government fraud by a private entity.
If successful, the individual plaintiff is permitted to keep a percentage of the total amount recovered. In a number of cases, individuals have been able to recover and retain millions of dollars through these lawsuits.
The False Claims Act (FCA): Background & Details
The False Claims Act, also called “Lincoln’s Law,” was first enacted during the Civil War. It was not until 1986, however, that the False Claims Act was amended to provide real teeth.
In 1986, legislators concerned primarily about padded bills by defense contractors amended the False Claims Act to permit individuals with evidence of fraud against the government to sue Qui Tam, (“on behalf of the government”) in Federal District Court to recover the monetary amount defrauded.
The amendments permit successful private litigants to retain for themselves as much as 15 to 30% of the total amount recovered!
The federal government must receive notice of the claim and has the right to intervene and join in the lawsuit. Regardless of whether the government joins the lawsuit, the individual has the right to proceed and to retain a percentage of the amount recovered.
Whistleblower & Qui Tam Claims
Since 1986, the False Claims Act has been used to recover many hundreds of millions of dollars. Half or more of the False Claims Act litigation has involved health-related claims, such as Medicare or Medicaid fraud. Drug companies and medical device companies are often sued, but other government contractors are also successfully sued under the False Claims Act. Taxpayers who cheat on their taxes may also be sued.
In order to recover under the False Claims Act, an individual must have evidence of fraud that has not already been presented to the government; this “First to Sue” rule encourages the whistleblower to act quickly.
Employees who sue under the False Claims Act are also specifically protected from retaliation. Colorado employees who oppose illegal acts and are then terminated can also recover damages under Colorado wrongful discharge tort law.
We Have a Record of Success in Whistleblower Claims
Denver Whistleblower Attorneys Lynn D. Feiger and Justin Plaskov have successfully represented a number of employees and ex-employees of drug and medical device companies with potential healthcare-related government claims under the False Claims Act.
Lynn D. Feiger also obtained the second verdict ever in Colorado, representing three employees with whistleblowing claims against Intermountain Rural Electric Association (see Cronk v. Intermountain Rural Elec. Ass’n, 765 P.2d 619 [Colo. App. 1988]).