Are You Looking for a Whistleblower Law Firm?
Fiction is rarely stranger than real life.
Have you heard that saying before?
As fiction writing fans across the world can tell you, the pages they rapidly consume between the covers of some of the best selling titles rarely tell a story, no matter how bizarre, that is impossible to imagine in this crazy world which we live in. For these reasons, perhaps it should come as no surprise that John Grisham’s latest book is The Whistler. In a story masterfully crafted by one of America’s greatest and best selling author’s, Grisham tells a tale of a corrupt judge who is discovered by a lawyer who is just doing her job. the book jacket tagline indicates that dangerous is one thing, but deadly is something else.
At the same time that Grisham’s newest title explains the challenges of a lawyer, not a cop, who uncovers information about judicial misconduct, corruption, and incompetence, the main character Lacy Stolz has to navigate the careful line between doing what is right and doing something that could expose her to personal harm and unwanted attention.
And just as the pages of the newest book by a best selling author are hitting the shelves of bookstores across America, we live in a world where whistleblower protection is being tested in the courtroom every day.
The Whistleblower Protection Act, which was voted into place in 1989, is a U.S. federal law that protects federal whistleblowers who work for the U.S. government and report agency misconduct during the time of their employment. As recently as September of 2016, whistleblower protection was at the center of a congressional hearing that involved the Veterans Affairs (VA) Department. The VA, which has been at the center of much controversy in the last few years, has been targeted as a wasteful government agency that has not been provided the services they offer in a timely or effective manner.
The whistleblower retaliation settlements from the VA, in fact, are many of the cases currently being tried throughout the nation. Former employees content they have been fired from their jobs after they reported false documentation that indicates more patients were seen than actually were. The VA has been getting bad press about the months of waiting patients have had to do to even get into to see a doctor. These wait times are at the heart of many of the whistleblower statistics.
Employees of the VA allege that when they attempted to expose the documentation that hid how long actual wait times really were they were terminated for their actions. Contending that their termination qualifies as one of many whistleblower retaliation cases, former VA employers are just one group that seeks to use this 1989 legislation to get their jobs back, and in some cases earn settlements.
Even People Who Do Not Work for the Government Can Receive Whistleblower Settlements
Known as qui tam lawsuits, civilians can also file for whistleblower settlements if they can prove that they have evidence that can prove that an error or wasteful practice that they pointed out can save a government agency money. These qui tam cases, however, often require very specific documentation to qualify for an actual settlement. These civil suits which reward private citizens for exposing government waste and fraud involve everything from government contractors in the area of real estate, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare systems. In a time when the nation feels like everyone is crooked, from the two candidates running for president of the country to local road project officials. In a time when everyone feels that it is his or her job to be a watchdog for the government, it is no wonder that these civilian lawsuits are growing in number.
Statistically, those who sue under the False Claims Act are known as relators or whistleblowers. Eligible for 15% to 30% of the amount they recover, these suits do not come without some ramifications. If, for instance, a person knowingly submits, or causes another person to submit, false claims for payment of government funds those making the false claim can be held liable for up to three times the government?s damages, plus civil penalties ranging from $5,500 to $11,000 for each false claim. Whistleblower protection cases must be closely examined for their validity and reliability.