Image of Must a False Claims Act qui tam relator have firsthand knowledge of all aspects of the fraud?

Must a False Claims Act qui tam relator have firsthand knowledge of all aspects of the fraud?

 

Generally, the qui tam relator (the whistleblower) need not have firsthand knowledge of every aspect of the fraud scheme. The First, Third, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits have taken a more nuanced reading of the Rule 9(b) heightened pleading requirement, holding that it is sufficient for a plaintiff to allege “particular details of a scheme to submit false claims paired with reliable indicia that lead to a strong inference that [false] claims were actually submitted.”

Recently the First Circuit held that “nothing in the statutory text limits ‘direct knowledge’ to knowledge gained from participation in or observation of the fraud. The statute requires only that the person have ‘direct and independent knowledge of the information on which the allegations are based,’ not direct and independent knowledge of the fraudulent acts themselves.” United States ex rel. Banigan v. PharMerica, Inc., 2020 WL 813258 (1st Cir. Feb 19, 2020).

In U.S. ex rel. Galmines v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., 88 F.Supp.3d 447, 456 (E.D.Pa. 2015). the court indicated “that Third Circuit appellate precedent does not require [relator] to have firsthand knowledge of `all the relevant information’ on which his allegations are based, and that “a relator’s allegations need not be strictly limited to the information as to which she has direct and independent knowledge, provided that the relator has direct and independent knowledge of the critical elements of the alleged fraudulent scheme.” The court in Galmines found that it should “allow original-source relators to pursue the entire fraudulent scheme for which they have direct and independent knowledge of the operative substantive facts, and not to limit relators to the specific time periods for which they have direct and independent knowledge, particularly where the relator has alleged the scheme was `continuing’ as of the day they lost their direct and independent knowledge by reason of a cessation of employment or equivalent development.” An “original source” is “an individual who has direct and independent knowledge of the information on which the allegations are based.” 31 U.S.C. §3730(e)(4)(B).

False Claims Act Qui Tam Whistleblower Rewards and Protections

For more information about False Claims Act whistleblower protection for qui tam relators, see our FAQ.

False Claims Act Qui Tam Whistleblower Lawyers

best whistleblower lawyers The qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act have been enormously effective in enlisting private citizens to combat fraud against the government.  Qui tam whistleblowers, also known as relators, have enabled the government to recover more than $30 billion.  In fiscal year 2017 alone, qui tam actions brought by whistleblowers resulted in $3.4 billion in settlements and judgments, and the government paid $392 million in whistleblower awards to False Claims Act whistleblowers.

Described by the National Law Journal as a “leading whistleblower attorney,” founding Principal Jason Zuckerman has established precedent under a wide range of whistleblower protection laws and obtained substantial compensation for his clients and recoveries for the government in whistleblower rewards and whistleblower retaliation cases.

Three of the matters he has worked on are featured in Tom Mueller’s seminal book about whistleblowing Crisis of Conscience: Whistleblowing in an Age of Fraud and Dan Maldea’s Corruption in U.S. Higher Education: The Stories of Whistleblowers.  False Claims Act qui tam cases he has worked on in conjunction with other attorneys have resulted in recoveries in excess of $100 million.

Call our False Claims Act whistleblower lawyers today at 202-262-8959 to find out if you might be eligible for a False Claims Act whistleblower award.  We represent whistleblowers nationwide. Recently Washingtonian magazine named two of our attorneys top whistleblower lawyers.

Click here to read reviews from clients that we have represented in whistleblower rewards and whistleblower retaliation matters.

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Jason Zuckerman, Principal of Zuckerman Law, litigates whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, wrongful discharge, and other employment-related claims. He is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2015 and selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® and in SuperLawyers.