Qui Tam Case Procedure

If the government decides to pursue the Qui Tam case they will assume the burdens of litigating the matter. Of course, the government also has the authority to settle the case. On the other hand, if the government declines to intervene and the case is not litigated, the Complaint will likely come out of the seal and be made public, but there will be little additional activity on the court’s docket.

If you are interested in filing a Qui Tam also called a False Claims Act case, an experienced Qui Tam attorney could help. Qui Tam case procedures can be difficult to navigate without the help of a skilled attorney.

Filing a Qui Tam Claim

A plaintiff must file the Qui Tam case under seal and allow the government to investigate the case prior to determining whether the government wants to join the case.

Generally, individuals should file the cases, which are not publicly disclosed or for which they can claim to be an original source of the information. The seal provision of this law grants the government an initial period of 60 days to review the complaint by a Qui Tam relator.

The government can extend the seal period for good cause and almost always does so. As a result, the Qui Tam case procedure can take some time while the government is investigating the claim.

Rules and Procedures

Even before filing a case in court, most Qui Tam relators want to submit their allegations to the government, because that is an initial step in the establishing the Qui Tam relator as an original source of the information that they are providing to the government and of the case they want to file.

Litigation of a Qui Tam case is subject to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, like any other litigation, once the case is unsealed. Therefore, once the case is unsealed, if either the government decides to intervene or the Qui Tam relator wishes to pursue it on their own, the normal litigation process applies.

Qui Tam Litigation

Qui Tam cases follow a multi-step process. A Qui Tam relator first must prepare the case to present it to the government as best as possible and then work with the government to help them as asked to explain any aspect of the case, while the government investigates the allegations. Then the government decides whether to take over the litigation. If ultimately the case must proceed to litigation in court, the complaint will be served on the defendant and litigation would proceed as most other litigation in court.

The Benefit of Seal Provision

As part of Qui Tam case procedures, the seal provision was enacted to be a benefit to the government and allow the government to investigate the claims, but it can also benefit the plaintiff and even defendants.

Quite often as a matter of practical use, the seal will keep the identity of the plaintiff confidential for some time. Prior to the allegations coming out in court or being known publicly, the plaintiff-relator may take advantage of this procedure that prevents anyone from knowing about the case at all.

This is not a protection that can last indefinitely, but it can last for enough time to allow the plaintiff-relator to move on with their life. It can help, if it is necessary or desirable for the relator to seek employment elsewhere no longer be working for the defendant.

Qui Tam Roles

Qui Tam case requirements make it important for any relator to establish their connection to the information. Congress wanted to reward individuals for new information and created provisions of the law that reflect that intent.

There is a public disclosure bar as part of the provisions allowing a person to file a Qui Tam case, which can operate to prevent a case from going forward. The main exception to this bar is for a plaintiff to establish themselves as an original source of the allegations.

If the person filing under the Qui Tam provisions can demonstrate that they were an original source of this information, they can maintain an action even when there has been a public disclosure. To do so, they have to show they had independent knowledge of the allegations and provided that information to the government prior to filing the case. Call today to learn more about Qui Tam case procedures.