Qui Tam Defense

Qui tam suits are suits brought by private citizens on behalf of the United States alleging waste or fraud in providing goods or services to the United States. The person filing the suit is called a “relator.” The relator files the lawsuit under seal and serves the United States. The government then has a period of time to determine whether it wishes to intervene and assume responsibility for the suit. Once the government makes this decision, the defendant receives service of the complaint. If the government chooses to intervene, it becomes responsible for prosecuting the action. If the government chooses not to intervene, the relator can either proceed with the suit or drop the action. If the suit is successful, the relator receives a court determined amount of the recovery.

Someone named as a defendant in a qui tam action faces potentially staggering financial liability. Moreover, criminal investigations often accompany civil qui tam actions. It is essential that a defendant confronting a qui tam suit retain counsel experienced in defending fraud and knowledgeable about qui tam suits.