Image of What is the original source exception to the public disclosure bar?

What is the original source exception to the public disclosure bar?

Original Source Exception to Public Disclosure Bar

The public disclosure bar prohibits a relator from bringing a False Claims Act lawsuit based on a fraud that has already been disclosed through certain public channels, unless the relator is an “original source” of the information. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4)(A).

An “original source” is “an individual who either (1) prior to a public disclosure under subsection (e)(4)(a), has voluntarily disclosed to the Government the information on which allegations or transactions in a claim are based or (2) who has knowledge that is independent of and materially adds to the publicly disclosed allegations or transactions, and who has voluntary provided the information to the Government before filing an action.” § 3730(e)(4)(B).

If you have original information about fraud, it is important to retain counsel promptly.  For example, if a government investigator interviews you before you have voluntarily come forward to disclose the fraud, your disclosure to the investigator will likely not qualify for any whistleblower award.  See City of Chicago ex rel. Rosenberg v. Redflex Traffic Systems, 884 F.3d 798, 805 (7th Cir. 2018), citing United States ex rel. Paranich v. Sorgnard, 396 F.3d 326 (3d Cir. 2005) (voluntary requirement of federal False Claims Act “is designed to reward those who come forward with useful information and not those who provide information in response to a governmental inquiry”); Barth v. Ridgedale Electric, Inc., 44 F.3d 699, 704 (8th Cir. 1994) (qui tam relator did not “voluntarily provide” information to the government where government began its investigation first and investigator initiated interview with relator; “rewarding [relator] for merely complying with the government’s investigation is outside the intent of the Act.”)

False Claims Act Whistleblower Lawyers

False Claims Act qui tam whistleblowers, also known as relators, have enabled the government to recover nearly $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.

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

Frequently Asked Questions About False Claims Act Qui Tam Whistleblower Law

A qui tam whistleblower can be eligible for a large recovery.  But there are many pitfalls and obstacles to proving liability, and there are unique rules and procedures that govern qui tam whistleblower cases.  Therefore, it is critical to retain experienced counsel.  This FAQ provides an overview of some of the key aspects of False Claims Act claims.

Whistleblower Retaliation Laws Protecting Whistleblowers at Federal Contractors and Grantees

Courageous whistleblowers that come forward to report fraud deserve robust protection against retaliation.  Below is a list of common questions about key aspects of the anti-retaliation provisions of the False Claims Act and the NDAA.

Experienced Washington DC False Claims Act Qui Tam Whistleblower Attorneys Representing Whistleblowers Nationwide

The experienced whistleblower attorneys at leading whistleblower law firm Zuckerman Law have substantial experience representing whistleblowers disclosing fraud and other wrongdoing at government contractors and grantees.  To schedule a free confidential consultation, click here or call us at 202-262-8959.

Our experience includes:

  • Representing whistleblowers in NDAA retaliation claims before the Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice Offices of Inspectors General.
  • Litigating False Claims Act retaliation cases.
  • Representing qui tam relators in False Claims Act cases.
  • Representing whistleblowers disclosing fraud on the government in Congressional investigations.
  • Training judges, senior Office of Inspector General officials, and federal law enforcement about whistleblower protections.

Zuckerman Law has written extensively about whistleblower protections for employees of government contractors and grantees, including the following articles and blog posts:

Whistleblower Bounties

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.