Your Qui Tam case is filed. What happens now?
Shortly after the qui tam lawsuit is filed, the government attorneys and its investigators will want to meet with you and go over the factual side of your case. Your attorney should make you available to show cooperation and willingness to help the investigation. Remember, you are the person bringing the allegations to the attention of the government. So, it is really important that you cooperate with the government attorneys and investigators in every way possible. If you don’t, your case will be discredited in the eyes of the government and most likely fail. This is also an opportunity for the government attorneys and investigators to size you up in person so you need to come across as a credible relator. Your attorney should prepare you for this.
The relator’s meeting may have a number of people present such as government investigators, attorneys, auditors, contract specialists, healthcare officials, etc., depending on the allegations. It can also just be a couple of people – the government attorney, you and your attorney. Whether it’s a large or small meeting, your demonstration of complete cooperation and openness to provide information will be really appreciated and help your credibility.
Sometimes, there are politics involved with qui tam complaints, especially if a large, powerful, politically connected company is involved as a defendant. This can take the form of the defendant company running to their congressional connections or connections in the Justice Department through their attorneys to try and put a quick end to your case. It can also take the form of defendant company going through their military connections in the Pentagon (in the case of DOD contractors) to influence the Justice Department to end the case.
Once the government takes over your case there will be a long period of silence from their end. That can be good or bad depending on how they are proceeding. You hope that there are competent investigators actually investigating your case and competent attorneys overseeing the process. However, it is not uncommon for incompetent government attorneys and investigators who wittingly or unwittingly ruin your case and compromise you as a whistleblower. So, your attorney needs to be in constant contact with the government to try to follow what they are doing. Some qui tam attorneys who have filed a case and have not stayed involved with the government investigation are shocked to learn what the government has done to their case after a year or more of an unchecked government investigation. Make sure that your attorney stays on top of the government investigation and you should volunteer to help in any way possible.
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