The Journal Times: About the False Claims Act (October 21, 2018)
By Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L. October 22, 2018
The False Claims Act allows someone with knowledge of the U.S. government being defrauded to bring a claim on behalf of the United States of America. The claim is filed in secret, “under seal,” and given to the U.S. Department of Justice. That agency leads a team of federal agencies that looks into the matter.
Following the investigation, the DOJ makes one of three possible rulings:
- The DOJ takes over the case.
- The DOJ says the case cannot proceed.
- The agency will not intervene.
In Dr. John Mamalakis’ case, DOJ allowed him and his lawyers to stay in charge of the case. In that situation, whatever monetary damages are won in court are split between the government and the person who brought the case, who usually gets 20 to 30 percent.
However, if the employer has retaliated against the employee for blowing the whistle on the false claims, the former employee may also sue the employer in his own name, and it can be made a part of the same case. So Mamalakis, who says he was fired for not participating in fraudulent claim filing, also has his own independent claim under the False Claims Act. Any damages he may win that way would not be split with the government.
Mamalakis filed his action against TeamHealth in 2014. He is being represented by Daniel Rosen of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine in Minneapolis; and David Stone of Stone & Magnanini of Berkeley Heights, N.J.
The case has been delayed by a change of judges because of the original judge’s retirement.
Rosen said they will ask for a jury trial when the case eventually makes it to court, and he said they think the case is winnable.