False Claims Act
New York City Lawyers Experienced in Whistleblower Actions
The False Claims Act (FCA) provides protection for whistleblowers who expose employers that are committing fraud against the government. Although there is strong protection against retaliation available for whistleblowers under the FCA, there are complicated aspects to these claims. It is important to consult an experienced New York City whistleblower lawyer if you are interested in pursuing remedies under the False Claims Act. Phillips & Associates provides strong, aggressive legal representation to whistleblowers.
Qui Tam Actions Under the False Claims Act
You can bring a qui tam action that arises under the False Claims Act if you have proof of someone's fraudulent activity against the federal government. For example, if you work for a hospital and know that your employer is making false claims to Medicare, this is a potential False Claims Act case. The qui tam action is brought against the party defrauding the government. The government is allowed to intervene in your qui tam action, and it can join it. However, even if the government decides not to intervene or join, you can still go forward by yourself.
Initially, you file a qui tam action in camera and under seal in federal district court. You must serve a copy of the complaint and evidence on the U.S. Attorney General as well as the U.S. Attorney for the district where you are filing. The defendant (the wrongdoer) does not get a copy of the complaint. If you violate the seal before it is lifted, your complaint is at risk of dismissal.
There are many different types of conduct that constitute a false claim under the law. You can bring a qui tam action against a wrongdoer who knowingly presents any fraudulent claim to the federal government seeking payment. You could also bring a qui tam action against a wrongdoer who knowingly uses false records to get the federal government to pay. A qui tam action would also be appropriate when the defendant is conspiring to get false claims paid by the federal government or when the defendant is knowingly using a false record to conceal its obligations to pay the federal government. However, you cannot file a qui tam action if the government or someone else has already sued under the FCA based on the same evidence.
Under the FCA, you must file a qui tam action either within 6 years from the date of the FCA violation or within 3 years after the government knew or should have known about the FCA violation, but definitely not more than a decade after the violation. This timeline may be complicated if there are multiple issues, such as circumstances that also implicate the Dodd-Frank or Sarbanes-Oxley Acts.
Rewards and Protections Against Retaliation
Anyone who violates the FCA can be held liable for triple the amount of the fraud. The wrongdoer may be penalized with civil penalties of $5,000-$10,000 for each false claim. As a whistleblower, you can get 15-30% of the total recovery from the defendant, whether the case is favorably settled or adjudicated.
As with the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Acts, there are anti-retaliation provisions to protect you if you are an employee bringing a qui tam action or taking lawful steps to proceed with this type of action. The FCA prohibits the termination, demotion, harassment, or other adverse treatment of a whistleblower. You are entitled to any relief needed to make you whole, including reinstatement, back pay, and special damages. The statute of limitations is different for filing a retaliation case under the FCA than for a qui tam action.
Contact a Skillful Whistleblower Attorney in New York City
An experienced attorney can file a qui tam action on your behalf and pursue damages if you have been subjected to retaliation. If you are concerned about a False Claims Act case, you should consult an experienced employment litigator in New York City. Contact Phillips & Associates at (866) 229-9441 or through our online form for a free appointment. We handle employment litigation in the boroughs of the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan; the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester; as well as New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.
Statute of Limitations
Dedicated Whistleblower Attorneys Serving New York City and Surrounding Areas
If you believe that your New York employer has committed fraud against the government or other legal violations or misconduct, and you are considering filing a qui tam action or reporting the fraud, it is crucial to be aware of the statute of limitations. There is a limited window of time within which to take action to file a qui tam claim, and there is also a limited window of time within which to file a retaliation lawsuit, should you need to file it. Failing to take action within the statute of limitations specified under the statute can result in losing the right to receive a financial reward for reporting fraud or being barred from filing your retaliation claim. The New York City whistleblower lawyers at Phillips & Associates can help you protect your rights.
Statutes of Limitations
Some employers take retaliatory or discriminatory actions against employees for reporting misconduct. There are different statutes of limitations to bring retaliation lawsuits under the various whistleblower statutes. In some cases, there are time limits with regard to obtaining an award for blowing the whistle as well, and it can be helpful to consult with an attorney once you learn of an employer's misconduct to make sure that you follow the rules and procedures set forth under the appropriate statute or statutes.
The False Claims Act
The False Claims Act allows a whistleblower to file a qui tam lawsuit against someone committing fraud against the government and possibly receive part of the recovery gathered from that lawsuit as a reward for whistleblowing. The general statute of limitations for filing a qui tam lawsuit is six years after the date on which a false claim was made. There are exceptions to this statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for filing a qui tam claim is three years after the appropriate federal official was notified of the possible fraudulent activity. You definitely cannot file more than 10 years after the fraud happened. However, courts have held that the statute of limitations for whistleblower claims has been tolled under the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act of 2002 when military actions were authorized in Iraq. That means that a court may find that the clock has stopped running on the statute of limitations for FCA claims during periods of war.
The statute of limitations to file a lawsuit if your employer retaliates against you under the False Claims Act is three years.
If you have been subject to retaliation under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as an employee of a publicly traded company, you must file a written complaint with the Department of Labor within 90 days of learning of the discrimination, harassment, or retaliation to which you were subjected.
If you are an employee with concerns about securities laws violations, you should go directly to the SEC with your concerns.
The Dodd-Frank Act's statute of limitations for retaliation is more similar to the statute for the False Claims Act than the statute for Sarbanes-Oxley. Under Section 21F, you cannot file a retaliation action more than 6 years after the retaliatory acts. An employee also can file a retaliation action up to 3 years from the date when material facts were known or reasonably should have been known by the employee, but not more than 10 years after the violation happened. The Dodd-Frank Act has a two-year statute of limitations if you wish to bring a retaliation lawsuit based on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's whistleblower program.
Learn About Your Options by Consulting a New York City Attorney
It is often important to work with an attorney in connection with blowing the whistle on your employer, and it is crucial to consult an attorney if you have been subjected to retaliation for reporting your employer for misconduct. If you are concerned about the statute of limitations for a whistleblower claim involving a New York City workplace, you should consult an experienced employment litigator. You can contact Phillips & Associates at (866) 229-9441 or through our online form for a free consultation. We handle employment disputes in the boroughs of the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan; the counties of Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk; as well as New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.
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