Whistleblower lawyer Jonathan Tycko provides an overview on filing qui tam lawsuits. Learn about what qui tam lawsuits are and who can become a relator.
If you have a specialized knowledge of fraud in a company, you may be eligible to become a whistleblower in a qui tam case. An experienced qui tam attorney can help you understand how to work with the Department of Justice and what steps to take in case you may need to litigate on your own.
Watch the video or read the transcript below.
Speaker: Tycko & Zavareei LLP Partner Jonathan Tycko
The term qui tam is derived from an old Latin phrase. It means a lawsuit brought by a private citizen but in the name of the government. The person bringing a qui tam lawsuit is called a relator.
Who Can Be a Qui Tam Relator?
If you have nonpublic information about a fraud against the government or a government program, you may be able to bring a qui tam lawsuit as a relator. Relators are usually employees or former employees of the defendant company, but not always. Relators can also be industry experts, competing companies or others who, through some sort of specialized knowledge or their own investigation, learn about the fraud.
What is the Process of Filing a Qui Tam Lawsuit?
Qui tam lawsuits are filed under seal. This means that the lawsuit is secret when you file it, and during that under seal period, the company you sue does not know about the lawsuit. Instead, you provide the complaint and any supporting evidence that you have to the attorneys at the U.S. Department of Justice, which will open an investigation into your allegations. At the end of that investigation, the Department of Justice can intervene in your case, meaning that the department takes over the case or it can decline to intervene.
How Can a Qui Tam Attorney Help Me?
If the Department of Justice declines, you can still pursue the case on your own with your own attorneys.These can be long, complicated, expensive cases. To succeed, it helps to have experienced attorneys who know how to work with the Department of Justice and also know how to litigate on their own.
Our law firm, Tycko & Zavareei, has that experience, and we have the deep resources necessary to litigate aggressively when we need to.