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Whistleblower & Qui Tam

Whistleblowers who file a qui tam lawsuit are protected from employer retaliation, including being discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed and discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment.

Qui Tam and Whistleblower Attorneys

At Matern Law Group, we are committed to protecting the rights of employees in the workplace, including the right to report illegal or unethical activity without fear of retaliation.

If you have knowledge of illegal or unethical activity in the workplace, you may have the right to file a whistleblower lawsuit under California law. These lawsuits allow employees to hold their employers accountable for wrongdoing and seek compensation for any damages they may have individually suffered as a result of the illegal activity.

Our team of experienced employment law attorneys has a track record of success in handling whistleblower lawsuits. We understand the complex legal issues involved in these cases and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and help you seek the justice you deserve.

Additionally, if you have knowledge that a company has defrauded the government or if you have been retaliated against for reporting suspected fraud, you may also file a “qui tam” (pronounced kee-tam or kwee-tam) lawsuit on behalf of the state and federal government under the False Claims Act (“FCA”). Qui tam actions differ significantly from individual whistleblower lawsuits and require strict compliance with established procedures.

What is Qui Tam?

Sometimes called the “Lincoln Law,” the FCA originated during the Civil War as the government sought to crack down on those profiting from supplying faulty weapons and spoiled provisions. Since then, Congress has strengthened and modernized the FCA to protect and incentivize whistleblowers.

The vast majority of qui tam actions are initiated by whistleblowers who, depending on whether the government intervenes in the case, can receive between 15-30% of the total recovery as a reward for blowing the whistle. Between 1987 and 2019, the government recovered $62 billion under the FCA.
Qui tam law can be used to remedy a wide range of fraudulent activity, including overbilling, paying unlawful kickbacks or bribes, failing to perform contracts and leases, and providing defective products to the government. Qui tam actions are particularly useful in the healthcare industry, where medical providers seek reimbursement from Medicare for unnecessary services, inappropriately admitted patients, or other fraudulent practices.

The FCA also aims to eliminate fraud in defense contracts, mortgage and lending, for-profit education and financial aid, and marketing of drugs by pharmaceutical companies.

Filing Qui Tam Lawsuits

To file a qui tam lawsuit, a relator must be an “original source” (i.e. the knowledge of fraud cannot be publicly available or obtained second-hand) and disclose information to the government before filing the lawsuit under seal to give the government time to investigate the allegations. Once the government decides whether to intervene, the case is unsealed and proceeds—either with the government intervening and the relator continuing as a party, or with the relator’s attorneys leading the way if the government declines to intervene.

Because the FCA is such a powerful tool, whistleblowers need experienced attorneys to ensure they comply with the strict procedures and to help them understand and anticipate the risks, which can include retaliation, counter-suits, and reputational harm.

While the FCA generally applies a six-year statute of limitations from the date a fraud was committed or the government should have known about the fraud, there is significantly less time to file a lawsuit for other employment-related claims, such as harassment or wrongful termination. This is why it is important for whistleblowers to promptly seek legal representation and protect their rights.

If you have information that a company is defrauding the government, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation with an experienced whistleblower attorney who can help you understand your options and guide you through the process.

California’s False Claims Act allows individuals to sue on behalf of the state if they know of someone or a company submitting false claims for government funds or property. This law aims to combat fraud against government programs. It offers protections to whistleblowers from retaliation for reporting the fraud, and they may receive a portion of any recovered damages or settlement.

The Act covers a wide range of fraudulent activities, including overbilling, charging for services not rendered, or delivering substandard goods or services to government entities. Penalties for violating this law can be severe, including significant fines and damages up to three times the amount of the fraudulently obtained money.

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California’s fraud laws address various deceptive practices intended to gain unfair advantage, financial or otherwise, through misleading or dishonest means. These laws cover a broad spectrum of activities, including but not limited to, identity theft, credit card fraud, mail fraud, insurance fraud, and real estate fraud. Penalties for fraud vary based on the severity and type of fraud committed, ranging from fines and restitution to imprisonment.

The state requires that for an act to be considered fraudulent, there must be a false representation of a significant fact, knowledge that the representation was false, intent to deceive, and actual harm caused by the reliance on the false representation. These laws aim to protect individuals, businesses, and the state’s financial integrity by deterring dishonest practices and providing remedies for victims of fraud.

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California’s Lincoln Law is like a rulebook to stop people or companies from tricking the government into paying more money than they should. If someone notices this kind of cheating, they can report it by suing the wrongdoers on behalf of the government. This isn’t just a good deed; it’s also rewarded.

If the government gets back any money because of the lawsuit, the person who reported the fraud gets a share of it. Plus, they’re protected from being treated badly for stepping up. If someone is caught cheating, they have to pay back three times what they took, plus extra fines. This law is all about making sure everyone plays fair when it comes to government money.

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California’s physician self-referral laws prohibit doctors from referring patients to health services in which they have a financial interest, such as laboratories, physical therapy centers, or imaging facilities, to prevent conflicts of interest and ensure that patient care decisions are based on medical need rather than profit. These laws aim to ensure transparency, reduce healthcare costs, and maintain the integrity of medical decision-making.

Exceptions exist for certain types of referrals within predefined guidelines, but overall, the law seeks to protect patients from unnecessary procedures and expenses driven by a physician’s financial gain rather than patient health needs. Violations can result in penalties, including fines and potential loss of medical license.

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California’s qui tam laws allow individuals, often called whistleblowers, to sue on behalf of the state if they have evidence of someone defrauding government programs or agencies. This part of the California False Claims Act encourages people to come forward with information about fraud against the government by offering them a portion of any money recovered as a result of their lawsuit.

The law aims to uncover and deter fraud by leveraging the public’s help, providing legal protections for whistleblowers against retaliation, and ensuring that taxpayers’ money is used properly. If the lawsuit is successful, the whistleblower can receive a significant share of the recovered funds, incentivizing honesty and vigilance in protecting public resources.

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California’s whistleblower protection laws safeguard employees who report illegal activities, unethical behavior, or violations of public policy within their organizations from retaliation by employers. These laws encourage workers to speak out about wrongdoing by ensuring they cannot be fired, demoted, harassed, or otherwise mistreated for coming forward.

The protections cover a range of activities, including reporting violations to government or law enforcement agencies, alerting a supervisor within the company, or testifying in an investigation or legal proceeding related to the violation. Additionally, certain laws specifically protect healthcare workers reporting unsafe patient care and conditions.

Violations of these protections can result in penalties for employers, including damages to the employee for lost wages and suffering, and sometimes reinstatement to their job if they were wrongfully terminated.

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Our Approach

Our Practices are Guided by Integrity. We’ll protect what you deserve.

We work tirelessly and fight tenaciously to hold rights abusers accountable.

If you’ve experienced a distressing incident related to an issue like this, call us for a free case evaluation.

Did You Know?

Qui Tam
A "qui tam" lawsuit is a suit filed by a private citizen on behalf of a government entity, against someone who sought to obtain government money by fraud.
California whistleblower protection laws prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who come forward to report suspected violations of laws, regulations, and public policy.
Those who investigate and provide testimony and assistance in a False Claims Act case also are protected.

Is It Illegal, or Just Unfair?

Legal cases can be lengthy, complicated, and confusing, but you don’t have to take on the system all by yourself. If you believe someone has violated your individual rights, or the rights of a large group of people in your community, we can help you find the right course of action.

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