Whistleblower or “Qui Tam” Litigation
Our firm has successfully defended corporate clients in large and complex qui tam actions. We have persuaded the government that a whistleblower’s allegations are factually unsupported or, if supported, that the conduct at issue does not amount to a violation of the False Claims Act, was not relied upon by the government and/or did not result in damages. Where our clients have elected to settle rather than litigate False Claims Act liability, we have assisted them in negotiating favorable settlements and further counseled them with respect to avoiding administrative sanctions such as suspension or debarment and entering into multi-year compliance/integrity agreements with government agencies. Clients have included representation of:
- Premera Blue Cross, the largest health insurer in Washington state, in a qui tam investigation and civil lawsuit arising out of the company’s duties as the regional fiscal intermediary for the Medicare program
- Chugach Management Services, Inc., an Alaska native corporation, in government investigation involving allegations of government contracting fraud
- IDX Systems Corporation (a subsidiary of GE Healthcare) in qui tam investigation of alleged fraud in connection with a grant program from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Often, qui tam actions include allegations that the corporate defendant retaliated against and/or terminated a whistleblower after learning that he or she was considering filing a qui tam lawsuit or had already done so. The whistleblower protection provisions of the False Claims Act proscribe adverse employment actions taken as a result of an employee’s activities in furtherance of investigating and/or disclosing suspected fraud against the government. We routinely defend our clients against these sorts of allegations — and have succeeded in getting a whistleblower retaliation suit dismissed in its entirety as a sanction for the whistleblower’s intentional erasure of files from his company-owned computer.