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Basic procedure for starting a Qui Tam lawsuit

In order to prove criminal cases in California, the police or other authorities generally need tips and information from witnesses to the crime or who have received information about it. The authorities then use the information to pursue the case and prosecute the appropriate parties. The authorities cannot be everywhere at all times and need help from the public to do their job. This is true when companies violate various regulations as well. The proper authorities need inside information in order to build a case and hold the offending companies accountable for their actions.

The authorities need individuals within the company to report when violations occur. One common way of doing this is through a qui tam action initiated by an employee of the company. These whistleblower lawsuits can be very beneficial to the employee as well because often times, if successful, they are compensated with anywhere between 15 - 25% of the money recovered by the authorities.

In these lawsuits an employee would start it by bringing the information under seal to the appropriate authorities for review. The appropriate authorities then investigate the accusations made by the employee and determine whether or not there had been a violation.

If there was a violation the authorities may take over the case and prosecute the company. However, sometimes they may not have the resources or decline to pursue it. At this time the seal is lifted any the private employee can bring the lawsuit against the company on their own like any other lawsuit.

Many companies in California may provide false information or try to defraud the government or others in order for the company to make more money. The government wants to hold these companies accountable, but they often times need assistance from the employees in the company. That is why employees who know of violations are encouraged to start qui tam lawsuits against the company. Experienced attorneys understand these cases and may be able to guide one through it.

Source: www.americanbar.org, "An Introduction to Whistleblower/Qui Tam Claims" Shauna Itri, accessed on Feb. 15, 2018

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