Contacting a Whistleblower Attorney
An individual with knowledge of fraud against the government or consumers who is considering taking legal action should contact a law firm that is experienced in the complexities of qui tam law. A number of questions and aspects regarding these laws should be reviewed with an attorney before a whistleblower lawsuit is filed.
A short list of questions for a whistleblower attorney to answer might include the following:
- What laws apply to the information that the whistleblower is revealing in his or her allegations? There are four major federal whistleblowing laws (see below) and numerous state laws that might also apply to a particular claim.
- Should the whistleblower tell their employer what they know before they contact the appropriate government agency? The answer to this question might vary depending on the facts of the case and the type of fraud the whistleblower is reporting.
- Which government agency should be contacted and what is the proper way to report what is known? Failing to file a qui tam claim properly can disqualify the whistleblower from possible rewards.
- What is the best way to protect the whistleblower from retaliation by an employer?
- What can whistleblowers do in the process of gathering evidence in their case? What can’t they do?
A competent whistleblower lawyer will be able to answer these questions and chart a course for filing a successful qui tam lawsuit as quickly as possible. Time can be critical to the government accepting and intervening in a claim, and can also have an impact on any reward.
If someone else has already filed a claim based on similar information, or if the government has already begun an investigation, the whistleblower’s right to pursue the case may be denied. Different state and federal laws also have varying statutes of limitation—deadlines for filing and reporting—that must be met. If a deadline is missed, the right to take legal action may be lost.
Whistleblowers who desire to remain anonymous during the whistleblowing process will also benefit from legal counsel, and filing an anonymous claim may require being represented by a whistleblower lawyer. Although anonymity cannot be guaranteed in some cases, the identity of the relator will generally remain undisclosed while a government investigation is ongoing.
How to Be a Whistleblower: FAQs
Mark H. Schlein, our lead whistleblower attorney, has answered questions for hundreds of people just like you and helped them make the critical decision to blow the whistle. While a government attorney, Mark participated in whistleblower litigation resulting in the recovery of billions of dollars at the state and federal level. Mark has extensive experience litigating whistleblower lawsuits and working with whistleblowers. If you do decide to become a whistleblower and retain Baum Hedlund as your legal representation, Mark Schlein will make the journey with you and ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way.
Mark has prepared the following guide on how to be a whistleblower, covering some frequently asked questions:
What is the False Claims Act?
The False Claims Act (FCA) is a law that rewards whistleblowers who come forward to report fraud against the government. The whistleblower may receive a large financial reward based on the amount of money the government recovers. The FCA and related statutes also provide protection to legitimate whistleblowers that face retaliation from their employer because they reported fraud or improper conduct.
What should I be doing to prepare my whistleblower lawsuit?
Do not discuss this information with anyone, as people you talk to may decide to file the case themselves. Unfortunately, in these cases, it’s a “race to the courthouse” and the person who files the case with the government first usually wins.Write down everything you know about the corporate misconduct involved. What laws, regulations or safety procedures were violated? What are the potential financial, health and safety consequences of this misconduct? Be as specific as possible and do not exaggerate.You will need to help us quantify, as accurately as possible, the amount of money your company fraudulently obtained from the government.
Do I have to quit my job?
No. In many cases, it is helpful if you continue working at your company and can collect more evidence. If circumstances compel you to leave, however, you should do so. We can still make a strong case on your behalf.
What happens if I’m fired?
Unfortunately, whistleblowers are sometimes fired. In addition to the financial rewards available to someone who reports fraud against the government, whistleblower laws also provide protection to employees who face retaliation from their employer for filing a complaint. That can mean being reinstated to your job, double back pay and reimbursement for all legal expenses.
What will it cost me?
Filing a whistleblower lawsuit with Baum Hedlund as your legal representation will not cost you anything.
Is it worth the risk?
That’s a decision only you can make. Although it is not easy to come forward, you have an opportunity to do the right thing – to say “No” to corporate fraud and wrongdoing. Blowing the whistle on fraud will help put a stop to such conduct, protect the health and safety of the public and prevent this type of behavior from happening again.
Will I be doing this alone?
No, you will not be alone. Filing a whistleblower lawsuit can be a long journey, but we’ll be there to help and guide you through the entire process. You will be able to contact Mark at any time, and he will be there to protect your rights and support you every step of the way. When Mark represents whistleblowers, they are both a client and a friend.
Why Work With Baum Hedlund on Your Whistleblower Case?
The whistleblower attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman have a collective breadth of legal and professional experience that make us uniquely qualified to litigate whistleblower cases. With decades of whistleblower experience, we understand the schemes corporations use to defraud both the government and consumers in a variety of areas.
Baum Hedlund has been on the winning side of cases against some of the largest corporations in the world. We have secured settlements against major aircraft manufacturers, commercial transportation companies, pharmaceutical drug makers, and medical device manufacturers that not only helped our clients, but also exposed harmful industry practices and marketing schemes that put the general public in danger. Some of our cases have helped shape and develop the law for the benefit of injured victims and consumers.