The Federal False Claims Act (FCA) provides for civil sanctions that can be devastating to a company – up to three times the damages as well as penalties for each false claim. Since the 1986 amendments to the FCA, the government has increasingly used the statute to generate billions of dollars from settlements and judgments. Since fiscal year 2009, the Department of Justice has recovered an average of $4 billion per year and the total recovery between 2009 and 2017 is more than $35 billion. Additionally, the government often uses a company's FCA violation as the basis for suspension and/or debarment from government contracting.
Individual whistleblowers often bring FCA claims on behalf of the government. These suits are called qui tam suits and, if successful, the whistleblower is entitled to receive up to 30% of the amount recovered by the government. This provides tremendous incentive for individuals to file their own suits, often without even going through the company's compliance procedures. In addition, whistleblowers often bring retaliation claims with the qui tam suit.
As a general compliance tool for companies, the Firm has compiled a Whistleblower Litigation Mitigation Checklist of proactive steps a company can take to avoid becoming subject to a whistleblower complaint.
The Firm's government contracts, litigation and white collar attorneys have extensive experience in investigating, defending and negotiating claims under the FCA. These attorneys ensure that the government contractor works proactively with the relevant government officials from the outset to avert early suspension and assure any settlement satisfies their interests and avoids debarment. Moreover, our attorneys have experience in protecting against follow-on claims by state and local governments pursuant to their own false claims statutes and for any shareholder litigation that may result.