Los Angeles Qui Tam Lawyer

"Businesses who are defrauding the government are stealing from all of us. They also have an unfair advantage over their law-abiding competitors"
                             --- James W. Johnston, Esq.


Overview

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What is the False Claims Act (Qui Tam)?
A False Claim Act or Qui Tam case is a particular type of whistleblower claim.  The Civil False Claims Act prohibits persons or companies from presenting any false claim for reimbursement to the United States where there is "deliberate ignorance or reckless disregard" of the claim's falsity. The law includes a "qui tam" provision that allows whistleblowers who are not affiliated with the government to file actions on behalf of the government.  In a qui tam action the whistleblower is entitled to a percentage of the recovery of the damages and penalty (which maybe a very large amount) as a reward for exposing the wrongdoing and recovering funds for the government.

Qui Tam Provisions of the False Claims Act
Mr. Johnston has been a lawyer for more than 25 years.  He has for years been successfully representing whistleblower employees in Los Angeles and other areas of California, and is fully qualified to handle your claim.  If you believe that your employer has been defrauding the government, or if you have been retaliated against for reporting other types of illegal conduct by your employer, and would like to consult with a whistleblower lawyer in Los Angeles, we invite you to contact our office and make an appointment to speak with attorney Johnston about your case.  

Damages for Violation of the FCA
Those who violate the False Claims Act can be liable for three times the amount that the government was defrauded, plus penalties of $5,500 to $11,000 for each false claim. Each time the violator billed the government fraudulently would count as a claim, for example, so multiple fraudulent billing would result in multiple damages and penalties. Of these damages and penalties, the whistleblower receives between 15 and 30 percent of the eligible recovery, plus attorney's fees and litigation costs if ordered by the court. A whistleblower may also recover additional damages if an employer retaliated against him or her for being a whistleblower.  

25 Years Experience
Mr. Johnston has been a lawyer for more than 25 years.  He has for years been successfully representing whistleblower employees in Los Angeles and other areas of California, and is fully qualified to handle your claim.  If you believe that your employer has been defrauding the government, or if you have been retaliated against for reporting other types of illegal conduct by your employer, and would like to consult with a whistleblower lawyer in Los Angeles, we invite you to contact our office and make an appointment to speak with attorney Johnston about your case.  

  


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Ask a Los  Angeles Qui Tam Lawyer

If you believe you have been the victim of employment discrimination in your workplace, we invite you to contact attorney Johnston about your potential claim(s) by clicking on the link in the box at left.

 

Qui Tam Links

City of Los Angeles - Whistleblower Program

The False Claims Act - A Primer

 

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The False Claims Act (FCA)

The False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733 was enacted in 1863 by a Congress concerned that suppliers of goods to the Union Army during the Civil War were defrauding the Army. The FCA provided that any person who knowingly submitted false claims to the government was liable for double the government's damages plus a penalty of $2,000 for each false claim. Since then, the FCA has been amended several times. In 1986, there were significant changes to the FCA, including increasing damages from double damages to treble damages and raising the penalties from $2,000 to a range of$5,000 to $10,000. The FCA has been amended three times since 1986. Over the life of the statute it has been interpreted on hundreds of occasions by federal courts (which sometimes issue conflicting interpretations of the statute). [From "The False Claims Act - A Primer] 

Qui Tam Provisions of the False Claims Act

A Qui Tam claim involves a lawsuit brought by a private citizen (whistleblower) who is referred to under the FCA as a "relator" Qui tam lawsuits are brought for on behalf of the individual and the government. 

Damages for Violation of the FCA

Those who violate the False Claims Act can be liable for three times the amount that the government was defrauded, plus penalties of $5,500 to $11,000 for each false claim. Each time the violator billed the government fraudulently would count as a claim, for example, so multiple fraudulent billing would result in multiple damages and penalties. Of these damages and penalties, the whistleblower receives between 15 and 30 percent of the eligible recovery, plus attorney's fees and litigation costs if ordered by the court. A whistleblower may also recover additional damages if an employer retaliated against him or her for being a whistleblower.



 


Selected Whistleblower Cases

State Bd. of Chiropractic Examiners v. Superior Court (Arbuckle). (2009) 45 Cal.4th 963; Second District Court of Appeals, Division Seven.  This California Supreme Court decision upheld the right of a terminated employee to pursue a civil action against her former employer under California Labor Code section 1102.5 and Government Code sec. 8547.8. This right was upheld despite the fact that the employee had received an adverse determination from the State Personnel Board


Hooper v. Lockheed Martin, (9th Cir. 2012)- In this case, the relator was an engineer working for Lockheed, who claimed that the company defrauded the Air Force under a government contract by knowingly underbidding the contract. Lockheed argued that the estimates in its bid could not give rise to a false claims act violation because an estimate is merely an opinion or prediction, as opposed to a false statement. Unpersuaded by this argument, 9th District Court of Appeals reversed the lower court's decision. 
Schweizer v. OCÉ N.V. (Court of Appeals - D.C. 2012)-The appeals court reversed a district court’s dismissal of a retaliation claim under the False Claims Act and ordered the district court to review the settlement of a related qui tam case that the U.S. government had reached with the defendant over the relator’s objection.  

Sample Superior Court Whistleblower Complaint (Los Angeles County) 

 


The above information is provided as a courtesy of The Johnston Law Firm, and constitutes only a brief summary of some general employment law, discrimination issues and related legal rights under California law.  As such it does not constitute legal advice, and you should contact an attorney to discuss any specific employment issue you may have.  For further questions, please contact our  office on the forms provided.

515 S. Flower Street, 36th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90071
(213) 291-6977

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