What is the typical process for a whistleblower case?

All whistleblower cases are different, and the time from filing to settlement is highly variable. But you should realistically expect that your case will take several years to resolve.

Your attorney will help you determine whether you can take legal action. If so, he or she will:

  • Draft a complaint outlining the facts of your case, as well as its legal basis
  • File the complaint with the court
  • Notify the government of your case
  • Assist the government while it investigates your case

Our whistleblower attorneys will work with you to manage and expedite the process within the constraints of the system.

The Attorney General or an attorney with the Department of Justice is required to investigate any allegations of fraud against the government. The government will have 60 days to investigate the allegations posed in your complaint, but can request additional time if necessary.

Once the investigation is complete, the government will decide whether to intervene in your case. If the government joins the case, the suit will be resolved through either a jury verdict or settlement. If not, your attorney can help you determine whether you should drop the case or proceed on your own. Just because the government declines participation in your case does not mean that you don’t have a valid claim.

 

During an actual case, we’ll be better able to answer your questions about how things are progressing. But even in the best case scenario, whistleblower cases take a significant amount of time to unfold, and patience is needed.

Statute of Limitations

Whistleblowers have a limited amount of time in which to file a lawsuit. Failure to take action within the specified time limit–known as the statute of limitations–could result in you losing your right to receive a financial rewards for reporting the fraud.

In general, whistleblowers taking action under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act must file their lawsuit within:

  • Six years after the date on which the false claim was made.
  • Three years after the appropriate federal official was notified of the potentially fraudulent activity.
  • No more than 10 years after the alleged fraud took place.

If you have questions or concerns about filing a qui tam lawsuit, contact our attorneys today for more information.

Can the Statute of Limitations for False Claims Acts ever be extended?

The Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act tolls the statute of limitations when the country is at war. Tolling of the statute of limitations means that the clock stops running with regard to the time limits in which a whistleblower lawsuit may be filed. This suspension of the statute of limitations does not only apply to cases involving Department of Defense fraud, but potentially to all other types of whistleblower lawsuits.

Because of the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act, courts have ruled that the statute of limitations for whistleblower claims has been tolled since 2002 when Congress authorized military actions in Iraq. Under this interpretation of the law, if you have knowledge of a scheme to submit false claims to the federal government, you may be entitled to collect a financial reward for information pertaining to any fraudulent conduct that occurred as far back as October 16, 2002, the date Congress passed the Iraq War Resolution.

Because violating a statute of limitations can result in the loss of your rights as a whistleblower—and since statutes of limitations for different violations vary—it is important that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible about your case.