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. If the investigation clears the defendants of a Qui Tam case of wrongdoing, the allegations do not have to be litigated publicly, although the initial Complaint itself will likely come out of seal and be made public.

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

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 and important step in the establishing of 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.

Qui Tam cases are subject to normal Federal Rules once the case is unsealed. Therefore, when 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.

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 file in a manner 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. If it is necessary to seek employment elsewhere and get out from underemployment with 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 themself 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 they have to show they had independent knowledge of the allegations and provided that information to the government prior to filing the case.