How does it work?
Do I need a lawyer? Yes, under the Federal Act, you are required to use a lawyer.
How much does it cost? Our clients prefer to pay a contingency fee (a percentage of the amount recovered). This is set forth in a written agreement, agreed to by the client and a copy is always provided to the client.
What happens after a cases filed? After your lawyer files your complaint in federal district court and serves a copy of your complaint and disclosure statement to the appropriate government representative, your case remains under confidential seal for at least 60 days (for federal cases). This 60-day confidential seal period may be extended if the government requests it. It is not unusual for the seal period to last a few years. During the confidential seal period, the government investigates your allegations. At the end of the seal period, the government can choose to proceed on its own (to intervene) or to allow your lawyer to prosecute the case without government assistance. The government may change its mind and intervene later or withdraw from intervention.
If the government decides to intervene, it has primary responsibility for prosecuting the case. After the government decides whether to intervene and the confidential seal period ends, the complaint is served on the defendants. The lawsuit then proceeds in the same way as any other federal civil litigation, except for a few special procedural issues related to this type of litigation.
What is the "first to file" requirement? If the Government or another private party has already filed a False Claims Act lawsuit based on the same allegations as the case you want to file, then you may not proceed with your lawsuit. If you believe you have a case, you should act quickly.
What is public disclosure? Whistleblowers do not recover by filing suits on information that has been “publicly disclosed” unless they are an “original source.” Your lawyer can advise you on thisSee, How to Contact Jonathan Kroner.
Will wrongdoers go to jail? No. A suit under the False Claims Act is a civil action, not a criminal action. Filing a case might trigger a criminal investigation, but this would be separate from your case and you would have no control over it. However, you might be asked to assist in the Government’s criminal action. Also, if the U.S. Attorney opens a criminal investigation your case will be delayed.
Do I lose rights if I inform the government before filing a lawsuit?Yes and No. You do not explicitly give up your rights by going to the Government before filing your lawsuit. However, if you believe you have a case, you should act quickly to determine your rights and how you wish to proceed. See, How to Contact Jonathan Kroner.
What about frauds against Miami-Dade County? The questions and answers on this site relate only to the federal and Florida laws and not to Miami-Dade County’s false claims ordinance. Fore more information, Miami-Dade Article or here Miami-Dade County.