Filing the Initial Disclosure for National Whistleblower Cases

The process of filing an initial disclosure for a national whistleblower case can often be very complicated. To follow these procedures correctly, it is crucial to hire an experienced attorney who knows how to execute a case effectively. If you have found yourself in a situation where you are looking to file an initial disclosure for a national whistleblower case, it may be pertinent you hire a knowledgeable lawyer who can dedicate the strength and attention to your case that it deserves.

Initial Disclosure

To be an original source, an individual has to provide information voluntarily to the government prior to filing a complaint. That act of providing information for a national case is the initial disclosure. While filing an initial disclosure, an individual will want to get as much information as possible, as whatever an individual can legitimately get their hands on will bolster their claim.

Usually, an initial disclosure for a national case functions as both a statement of evidence and the evidence itself. Technically, an individual can submit an initial disclosure that states their intention to disclose specific allegations later, but it should be made as detailed as possible. This will help an individual prepare the complaint that they are going to end up filing.

In a national case, a weak initial disclosure can hurt an individual’s chances of getting the government on board. However, most of the time, the government will wait to see the complaint, interview the relator, and weigh the merits of the claim before deciding whether to intervene.

The main problem with a weak original disclosure is when it discloses only some of the facts. An individual wants to make sure that they have covered all the allegations that they are going to put in the complaint, so that they can claim original source status over all the allegations.

Role of the Attorney General

After sending the initial disclosure in a national case, an individual will want to be able to confirm the attorney general and or other government official received the materials. It is possible for some state officials including their attorney generals to pick up a case, if it involves claims for many states and the federal government, while others decline, but it does not occur very often. This can happen when one state has no claims in a particular case, but others do.

For instance, a healthcare provider might not do business in a particular state but does business in another, affecting the process of the claim. If an individual finds out they do not have any claims in a particular jurisdiction, they would dismiss the claims in that jurisdiction or simply not file a claim for that jurisdiction if that is known information upfront. Assuming that there is similar liability across jurisdictions, states tend to follow the federal government, especially now with the option for consolidated actions.

When an individual first sends information to state officials, it is meant to outline their allegations and include almost everything that would be in the complaint. Any attorney representing them would be trying to establish the filing party as the original source for the information, and to do that an attorney would have to inform the various governments as to what is going on.

Sending a Complaint

The complaint is a more formal document to file in a national whistleblower case than the initial disclosure. For one thing, certain jurisdictional issues have to be included in the complaint. Also, court filings have to abide by the standards of whatever court the individual is filing in, which can be pretty specific—ranging from the typeface and the size of the document to statements of jurisdiction.

None of these specifications are required in the initial disclosure, so the initial disclosure can often be formatted in whichever way the individual prefers. However, there are things that an individual would not put in the complaint that they might put in a disclosure. An individual is allowed to provide the government certain information and, under a joint privilege, have that material remain not filed in court. Sometimes, an individual may provide material in an initial disclosure to help the federal government with their investigation, but not necessarily include it in a complaint that might at some point become public.

In general, an individual will want to provide as much information as possible. That said, there are certain exhibits that may involve sensitive material that an individual would be entitled to provide to the government, but not necessarily put on the record of the court.