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.
- What is a qui tam whistleblower lawsuit?
- What types of false claims are prohibited by the False Claims Act?
- What is the first-to-file bar in False Claims Act qui tam cases?
- What is the requirement to file a False Claims Act qui tam action under seal?
- What is a reverse false claim?
- What is the statute of limitations for a False Claims Act qui tam action?
- What is the public disclosure bar in the False Claims Act?
- What is materiality under the False Claims Act?
- What is “Scienter” Under the False Claims Act?
- Is a Violation of the Anti-Kickback Law Also a Violation of the False Claims Act?
- Does the False Claims Act Prohibit Bid-Rigging?
- Does the False Claims Act Prohibit Fraudulent Inducement of a Contract?
- Can a violation of Good Manufacturing Practices give rise to False Claims Act Liability?
- Is there a heightened pleading requirement for False Claims Act qui tam cases?
- Does the False Claims Act authorize treble damages?
- Must a False Claims Act qui tam relator have firsthand knowledge of all aspects of the fraud?
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.
- How does the NDAA whistleblower retaliation law protect whistleblowers at federal contractors and grantees?
- Must an NDAA Whistleblower Retaliation Plaintiff Prove a Subjective Belief of a Violation?
- What whistleblowing is protected under the False Claims Act anti-retaliation provision?
- Does the False Claims Act protect whistleblowers against retaliation?
- Is whistleblowing in the course of performing job duties protected under the False Claims Act?
- Is False Claims Act Whistleblower Protection Limited to Disclosures About the Whistleblower’s Employer?
- Does the participation of a supervisor with knowledge of protected whistleblowing in the decision to take an adverse personnel action prove knowledge under the False Claims Act whistleblower protection provision?
- Can a False Claims Act whistleblower retaliation plaintiff obtain double back pay (two times lost wages and benefits)?
- Are employees whose jobs require investigating fraud against the government required to meet a higher pleading standard?
- Are “duty speech” disclosures protected under the False Claims Act?
- What protections are available to federal contractor whistleblowers under the NDAA whistleblower protection law?
- Can False Claims Act whistleblowers use confidential documents to report fraud to the government?
- What is the purpose of the False Claims Act whistleblower protection provision?
- Does the False Claims Act protect a whistleblower who refuses to violate the Act
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 Protections Under the National Defense Authorization Act.
- Boosting Contractor Employee Whistleblower Protections, Law 360 (December 2016)
- New Tools to Combat Whistleblower Retaliation, Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund Quarterly Review, Vol. 57 (October 2010)
- GAO Report Calls for Improvements in Government Contractor Whistleblower Protections
- False Claims Act Retaliation Decision Underscores Broad Scope of FCA Whistleblower Protection
- NDAA Provides Robust Whistleblower Protection
- FAR Amendment Bars Agencies from Subsidizing Whistleblower Retaliation
- NDAA Contractor Whistleblower Protection Law Highly Effective in Rooting Out Fraud
- Congress Enacts Anti-Gag Provision in Cromnibus Spending Bill
- Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Zuckerman Will Speak About False Claims Act Litigation at Taxpayers Against Fraud Conference
- Whistleblower Protections Under the Whistleblower Protection Act, Practical Law (October 2016)
- Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Zuckerman Quoted in National Law Journal
- Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Zuckerman Quoted About Federal Employee Whistleblower Rights
- Washington Post Quotes Whistleblower Attorney Jason Zuckerman About Chilling Effect of Insider Threat Program
- How to foster a more ethical culture
- Whistleblower Lawyer Jason Zuckerman Quoted About MacLean Whistleblower Protection Act Case
- Trump Questionnaire Raises Concerns About Retaliation Against Energy Department Staff
- CFPB official wants to silence a whistleblower before he can talk to Congress