While most individuals have the opportunity to bring a qui tam whistleblower suit for any violation of the False Claims Act, there are certain exceptions to who may bring a qui tam whistleblower suit and the conditions of the suit. The following are five instances that, if applicable to you, bar you from filing a qui tam whistleblower suit. If you believe any of the following may apply to you, contact an experienced qui tam whistleblower attorney immediately to find out if you fall into one of the below classes and what options are available to you.
Former and Present Members of the Armed Forces
Under the Civil Actions for False Claims Act, a former or present member of the armed forces may not, in his or her capacity as a qui tam whistleblower, sue another member of the armed forces for fraudulent actions arising out of the whistleblower’s service. Additionally, while the statute does not bar governmental employees from bringing a False Claims Act (FCA) suit, governmental employees wishing to bring an FCA suit should be prepared to respond to challenges that he or she cannot bring suit as a governmental employee.
Members of Congress
Members of Congress, including the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, are barred from bringing qui tam whistleblower suits against another member of Congress. This is true only if the evidence that forms the basis of the suit was known to the government when the action was brought.
First to File
The first to file rule essentially states that the first person to file their qui tam whistleblower claim is the only person who has the opportunity to file a qui tam whistleblower claim based on the same set of facts available in the case. This is an absolute bar, which means no exceptions to this rule exist. That is why it is so important to take action and call an attorney as soon as you detect fraudulent actions, so your attorney can help ensure you are the first to file.
In addition to the first to file rule, if your allegation is already part of a civil suit or administrative civil hearing to which the government is a party, you will not be able to file a qui tam whistleblower suit.
If your qui tam whistleblower suit is based on public disclosures, you may not be able to file a qui tam whistleblower suit. The following are a few questions you should be asking yourself:
- Have the allegations that the plaintiff made been publicly disclosed?
- If so, is the lawsuit based upon a publicly disclosed fact?
- If yes, are you the public source of the info?
Even if your qui tam whistleblower lawsuit is based upon a publicly disclosed fact, you may still be able to file your qui tam whistleblower case if you are not the public source of information.
Contact a Qui Tam Whistleblower Attorney Today
If you are not sure whether you fall into one of the five barred classes above, contact an experienced whistleblower attorney today. The qui tam whistleblower attorneys at Willoughby Brod have years of experience helping whistleblowers determine whether this is the best route for them. Contact us at (800) 427-7020 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation today.
(image courtesy of Israel Palacio)