If you experienced repercussions after standing up and exposing an organization’s corrupt or illegal actions, our St. Louis whistleblower lawyers can make sure the truth you have been speaking is heard and your rights are protected. Attorney Gonzalo Fernandez has over 30 year of experience fighting for those who have been wronged by others, including those who have filed whistleblower claims.
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What is a whistleblower lawsuit?
A whistleblower is a civil suit that is filed by an individual who has knowledge of a company’s fraud, illegal activities, or corruption which results in some sort of financial loss to the U.S. Government. Typically, whistleblowers are employees or former employees of a company that has some sort of relationship with the Federal government, such as a vendor or service provider. We often see these suits in the area of medicine, finance and banking, and government suppliers. An individual files the lawsuit on behalf of the Federal Government that is being defrauded. Often the U.S. Attorney’s office may elect to intervene in the suit and go after the corporation committing the fraud. The whistleblower would then be entitled to a percentage of the recovery on behalf of the Government under the Federal whistleblower statute.
How is a whistleblower lawsuit handled?
In a whistleblower lawsuit, the individual with information related to the wrongdoing may file a lawsuit under the Federal False Claims Act, a Federal law which allows that individual to stand in the shoes of the Federal Government while the government is given the opportunity to review the claim and determine if they wish to intervene. Their decision to intervene is usually based on whether the claim has merit and the damages involved. These suits are unique in that a private individual who has information about a fraud on the government initiates the lawsuit which can then be prosecuted by the Federal government working with the original plaintiff. These types of lawsuits are also called “Qui Tam” suits or for you Latin scholars: “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur” which means “he who brings an action for the King as well as himself”. Under the Federal False Claims Act, an individual, who provides valuable and unique information to the government which they use to recover damages is entitled to a percentage of the money recovered.
It takes a great deal of courage and integrity to stand up to your employer when you know they are engaging in illegal or wrongful conduct. A whistleblower may suffer retaliation within their company or even within an entire industry and be putting their entire professional future at stake. The Federal False Claims Act recognizes the risk these whistleblowers take and the value of the information they provide by providing a financial incentive in cases where they are able to recoup a portion of their damages.
What are some examples of a whistleblower lawsuit?
We often see these lawsuits crop up in the context of the healthcare industry, where hospitals may be improperly charging Medicaid or Medicare, defense contractors or other suppliers of products or services to the government, or any industry that is regulated by the federal government such as banking, finance and securities.
Examples of Whistleblower lawsuits include:
Over $2 billion recovered against drug and medical device manufacturers
$1.5 billion paid by GlaxoSmithKline LLC related to allegations that they promoted certain antidepressants, including Paxil, Wellbutrin, and Zofran, for uses not approved by the FDA and provided paid kickbacks to physicians to prescribe the drugs for these off-label uses.
MORTGAGE AND HOUSING FRAUD
$1 billion paid by Countrywide Financial related to allegations that they engaged in deceptive and fraudulent mortgage underwriting practices
$7 billion dollar settlement reached with Citigroup related to how it marketed and sold residential mortgage-backed securities
PROCUREMENT FRAUD & PRICE FIXING
$200 million dollar settlement with Oracle Corp. regarding allegations they misrepresented to the federal government their general commercial discounts given to private customers in order to extract a higher price from the government.
In July of 2014, the Department of Justice announced that it would intervene in a similar case against Symantec Corp., which has been supplying software to the Federal government.
Gonzalo Fernandez is an exceptional attorney and I continue to recommend him enthusiastically. Smart, savvy, and client-focused, he is the consummate professional you want on your team; and the ideal lawyer you want leading it.
Our St. Louis Whistleblower Lawyers Are Here to Help
If you have knowledge of fraud or corruption that results in a loss to the government, call us to see if we can help. These are always complicated and difficult cases that involve highly sensitive and emotionally charged issues. You need a law firm with the experience and resources to protect whistleblowers.
If you would like to discuss a whistleblower or qui tam claim, contact Fernandez Law today.