What is a Qui Tam or Whistleblower Case?
A Qui Tam case happens when someone exposes fraud by filing a lawsuit on the government’s behalf. That person, also known as a “whistleblower,” is entitled to receive a cash reward from the government if the case is successful.
What is The False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act (FCA) is a federal civil law that holds individuals and companies liable for defrauding government programs. The False Claims Act has a provision that lets non-government employees file a lawsuit on behalf of the government if they have evidence of fraudulent activity.
Billions of Dollars Available in Reward Money
The law helps recover billions of dollars in federal funds and rewards people willing to speak out to protect the government and taxpayers. In some cases, whistleblowers can get up to 30% of what the government recovers.
Medical Device Makers, Drug Companies & the False Claims Act
The largest settlements ever reached between the U.S. government and pharmaceutical companies were done under the False Claims Act. Medical device makers have been targeted more frequently under the False Claims Act in the past several years.
Companies may find themselves liable if they engage in any of the following illegal practices:
MANUFACTURING A DRUG OR DEVICE WHEN THE COMPANY KNOWS IT’S DEFECTIVE:
Manufacturers break the law when they make a drug or device with known serious defects. It’s a violation of the False Claims Act when these products are given or sold to people on Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE because these are federally-funded programs. Device and drug companies can also be held liable if they cover up or fail to report known defects or problems to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
MARKETING A DEVICE FOR NON-FDA APPROVED OR OFF-LABEL USE:
Although doctors can prescribe medications and devices for off-label use by patients, manufacturers can NOT market them for any use other than what has been approved by the FDA. Doing this is a clear violation of the False Claims Act.It is also a violation if a drug or medical device company offer doctors a financial incentive to encourage off-label use of their products.
PROVIDING KICKBACKS TO MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS:
It is against the law for drug or device makers to offer financial incentives to doctors, nurses, hospitals, or anyone else who makes purchasing decisions in exchange for using their products. This applies to products paid for by federally-funded health care programs. That means cash and in-kind gifts, including unrestricted grants, vacations, trips to out-of-town conferences and consulting fees are all illegal.
Number of Whistleblower Cases Filed and How Much Money Recovered
The number of fraud cases taken on and the amounts awarded below are listed by the U.S Department of Justice and includes all information from October 1987 to September 2013.
Total Number of Qui Tam Cases Filed
Dollar amount recovered in settlements and judgments
Dollar Amount Given to Whistleblowers
Who Are We?
We are attorneys with a reputation for litigating against large medical products corporations. We hold powerful people accountable when their business actions hurt consumers.
Maglio Christopher & Toale, P. A. has extensive experience fighting the medical companies that designed and sold defective orthopedic implants and dangerous drugs. Our legal teams have deposed and questioned CEOs and executives from multinational corporations that manufacture and sell medical products. Our investigations have uncovered internal documents that we believe offers evidence of fraud and deception at the highest executive levels.
What Kind of Cases Do We Take?
The False Claims Act targets a broad range of industries, but Maglio Christopher & Toale, P. A. focuses solely on fraud involving healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and defective medical devices.
Why Choose Us to Represent You in a Qui Tam Case?
Because we understand your concerns and fears about becoming a whistleblower. We know what it could mean to your future, your family and your career. That’s why we focus on protecting your confidentiality during the preliminary investigation. Then we present a compelling case based on the evidence collected by the U.S. government.
Before filing a claim, we complete an extensive investigation of the fraud. We review all the data and documents, conduct interviews, and work with the U.S. Government to determine if there’s a case. Our law firm has the resources and depth of staff to handle even the most complex litigation.
Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. has the experience, knowledge, and resources to handle your whistleblower case.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Can Be a Whistleblower?
Anyone with evidence of fraud can be a whistleblower. Typically in medical product cases, someone who understands the business of the corporation is often the person who comes forward. It can be anyone from a manager, sales representative, accountant, marketing executive, health professionals or anyone who knows about an institution’s business practices.
What Protections Do I Have Once I File a Claim?
Some people worry about retaliation from their employer if they file a false claims case. Pursuing a qui tam lawsuit is usually a better course of action compared to reporting fraud to a representative of the company. A qui tam lawsuit will be “under seal” for at least 60 days while the government investigates, which means the manufacturer in question will not know about the claim or who filed it during that time.
Although courts disagree over the scope of protection, typically if a whistleblower, is fired, demoted, harassed or discriminated against, he or she may be eligible for reinstatement, back pay and compensation of legal fees. Many states also have wrongful discharge and other employment laws that provide protection to whistleblowers.
Why Should I File a Whistleblower Lawsuit?
Whistleblowers help protect people. Most of us know right from wrong when we see it. A whistleblower takes it a step further and makes sure powerful medical corporations are held accountable. That’s why the rewards for reporting fraud can be so high.
A whistleblower lawsuit is one of the most powerful weapons the government has to fight fraud. That’s why the federal government makes sure people who bring forward evidence of fraud are well compensated for doing the right thing.
How Much of a Reward Could I Expect?
Defendants found liable under the False Claims Act may be forced to pay up to 3 times the amount lost by the government plus penalties on each claim. The amount varies by case, but the whistleblower is entitled to receive a percentage of what’s recovered.
If the government intervenes in the case and recovers money through a trial or a settlement, the whistleblower is eligible to receive 15% to 25% of that money. If the government doesn’t intervene, the whistleblower can still proceed with his or her legal team. In that case, the reward due to the relator is 25% to 30% of the funds recovered.
What Type of Evidence Do I Need?
Extensive documentary evidence helps make a qui tam case stronger. Whistleblowers should document all meetings, conversations, emails, receipts, and other paperwork that could help prove fraudulent activity. They should not, however, steal any documents or obtain them illegally. It’s important to create a record of how all documents were obtained. No detail is too small, including the date, time, and place the conversations about fraud took place. Whistleblowers have a strong case when they can show the inside information they have is from direct contact with the people committing the fraud. The attorneys at Maglio Christopher & Toale, P. A. will help you gather the evidence you need to build a strong case.
MEDICAL WHISTLEBLOWER ATTORNEYS
Altom M. Maglio, Esq.
Managing Partner, Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A.
Altom (“Al” and “Tom” combined – the names of his grandfathers) represents medical device and pharmaceutical whistleblowers across the United States in Qui Tam claims. Mr. Maglio has also spent years defending people hurt by defective medical products. Today he serves as the managing partner of the Maglio Christopher & Toale. P.A. The Firm actively represents clients from California to Maine, from Texas to Michigan, and from Alaska to Puerto Rico, and in all states and territories in-between. Mr. Maglio is an active member of the Taxpayer’s Against Fraud Education Fund.
Danielle Strait, Esq.
Danielle Strait, Esq. is a complex civil litigation attorney practicing out of the Firm’s Washington, DC office. Prior to joining the Firm, Ms. Strait spent three years serving as a judicial law clerk to former Chief Special Master Gary Golkiewicz at the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, DC. The United States Court of Federal Claims is a unique federal court of national jurisdiction. Ms. Strait uses this firsthand experience with the federal courts to advocate for the Firm’s clients. Ms. Strait is also a member of the Taxpayer’s Against Fraud Education Fund.
William Christopher, Esq.
William “Bill” G. Christopher’s practice focuses on the litigation of complex civil cases. His clients range from some of the largest national organizations to individuals. Mr. Christopher has over 40 years in the practice of law with large to medium size firms in Washington, D.C., Detroit, West Palm Beach, Tampa and Sarasota. Prior to becoming an attorney, he was an officer (Captain) in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (1962-1967).