Top Law Firm ForWhistleblower Protection in Sacramento
Whistleblower and Qui Tam Attorney in Sacramento Experience – Knowledge – Resources
Stephen Danz & Associates’ False Claims Act (“FCA”) team is composed of Qui Tam Whistleblower attorneys, experts, and staff with considerable experience with the federal FCA and California FCA. Our team includes attorneys with years of litigation in fraud, employment law, and labor law cases with an emphasis in areas such as government, health care, and the defense industry. We handle each case with a regimented and organized manner ensuring that we cover every aspect of the culpable employer’s violations.
Familiarity with the Courts and Industry
In addition, we are familiar with the courts in Sacramento and its surrounding area which gives us a unique approach and an expectation to deliver. When you contact our office and speak with one of our Qui Tam attorneys, we can provide you with examples of our representation of whistleblowers (or relators) in federal and California FCA cases. It takes years to litigate one of these cases and therefore it is vital that you speak with an attorney who has gone through the full cycle several times to have a thorough understanding of what it takes to be successful in FCA.
Whistleblower and Qui Tam Cases Have Increased with Larger Exposure and Settlements
Whistleblower cases have increased exponentially in the last few decades. This is a strong indication that it is now becoming more commonplace and acceptable for anyone who witnesses corporate greed, fraud, and abuse of government funds to step forward and stem out the wasting of taxpayer dollars. Among the many laws that provide a vehicle and avenue for employees (or even contractors, subcontractors, vendors, and competitors) to bring forth Qui Tam actions against either or both individuals or companies who are taking money from the government. This includes city, county, state or federal government.
How Qui Tam and Whistleblower Cases Evolve
Once we file a case on your behalf, it is under seal which means it is only viewed by the court and kept private. It is then presented to the government and they choose whether to join the litigation or withdraw and allow you and your attorneys to litigate on the government’s behalf. It is more powerful to have the government join, but due to their slim resources, they cannot join every case. That means that it is even more critical that you select the most experienced, knowledgeable and resourceful Qui Tam Whistleblower lawyers in Sacramento. Either way, you as the whistleblower are entitled to a percentage of the recovery which, since the range is 15-30%, can result in millions of dollars. For the last several years, we’ve seen whistleblower recoveries reach over $500 million dollars.
Typical Whistleblower and Qui Tam Actions in the Health Care Arena
It is common that the FCA is utilized within the health care industry to stem out fraud related to illegal billing, staffing, and kickbacks. Examples of these are when a provider of health care services such as a doctor or hospital bills for services that were not provided or the bill was submitted at an improperly higher rate of reimbursement for the services. In addition, health care companies are often found to illegally bill the government for substandard services by fraudulently using higher diagnostic codes or by falsely certifying the medical necessity of medical procedures. Moreover, these companies may realize that they have credit from their services that they have to repay to the government, but the companies do not reimburse the government within the 60-day time frame, often on purpose. Then, nonpayment becomes a false claim. To combat employer retribution for filing FCA claims, the Health and Safety Code Section 1278.5 prohibits retaliation against patients, physicians, nurses, and medical staff who act as a whistleblower to the government or its agencies on patient care issues at a health care facility. Even the IRS has been getting in on the action and recently reported that in Fiscal Year 2015 it paid out more than $103 million to whistleblowers resulting from settlements in successful lawsuits.
It is vital that whistleblowers step forward and expose the wrongdoing of companies who take advantage of the government. Our attorneys and their teams have the resources to take on the larges cases and have represented many high profile clients against fortune 500 companies. Once you contact our attorneys, we will investigate and evaluate the case in addition to providing you sound legal counsel and advisement. Therefore, we select cases only after we analyze each fact and compare it to case law in California as well as the industry and timing. Since we only represent plaintiffs, whistleblowers, and realtors, we offer a specialized and unique approach and focus. It is important to note that the initial client consultation is free. Thereafter, we only recover our legal fees if we are successful. We are on the same team and end up taking a risk each time we represent a client in FCA cases. To learn more, please contact us at (877)789-9707 or complete the online form and we will contact you to schedule the complimentary initial meeting. Rest assured that we will not rest until we fully maximize your recovery and ensure that you are satisfied.
Sacramento’s Specialized Qui Tam Attorneys
We are Sacramento attorneys specializing in Whistleblower, or Qui Tam, litigation. The Defense, Finance, and Healthcare industries have produced the most Sacramento whistleblowers over the years partly due to the regulated nature of the industries. Consequently, our attorneys have represented a growing number of whistleblowers and Qui Tam complainants (or relators) in our hometown.
The recent resurgence of False Claims Act (“FCA”), or Qui Tam, lawsuits has brought this historically dormant practice into the national spotlight often producing multi-million dollar judgments and ongoing scrutiny by a public tired of hearing about companies that defraud the government. Due to Sacramento’s health care market, the federal FCA and California FCA combine to enable the government to prevent and mitigate fraud, waste, and abuse in government healthcare programs such as Medicaid and Medicare.
California’s FCA is modeled after the federal FCA. In a nutshell, the laws forbid any person who:
(1) knowingly brings false or fraudulent claims for government payment;
(2) knowingly makes false record or statement to get false or fraudulent claims paid by the government;
(3) conspires to defraud the government by getting a false or fraudulent claim paid by the government; or
(4) knowingly makes false record or statement to conceal or decrease an obligation to pay the government.
The recent emergence of favorable, and lucrative, results especially in the health care field encourages individuals to expose corporate swindling of government funds and this area is not showing any signs of slowing down.
False Claims Act /Whistleblower Monetary Penalties
Attorneys at Stephen Danz & Associates have assisted California whistleblowers to obtain extremely financially-bountiful results. A violation of the FCA may subject a company to substantial penalties of $5,000-11,000 per violation plus triple damages sustained by the government. Typically, the government initiates criminal proceedings first and then continues with civil prosecution. Our attorneys work together with the government each step of the way.
At the core of the FCA is the ability for private persons (aka whistleblowers/qui-tam relators) to file actions on behalf of the government. Then, while the action is under seal for 60 days, the government can choose to intervene either by litigation or settlement, or decline and allow the private lawsuit to proceed. If the government intervenes (preferred), the private person still receives a share (15-25%) of any recoveries. If the government declines to intervene, the private person receives a higher percentage (25-30%) of any recovery. (31 U.S.C. 3730 et seq.) Contact our Sacramento whistleblower and qui tam attorneys today for a free analysis of your case.
Whistleblower Protection in California
After choosing to blow the whistle and contacting our attorneys, the whistleblower is informed of the anti-retaliation protection afforded in California. Our attorneys not only represent the whistleblower but they also go to bat protecting the whistleblower from any retaliation. Here are some of the most common whistleblower retaliation protections:
Labor Code Section 1102.5 prohibits retaliation against employees who “blow the whistle” by notifying a government agency on, or refusing to participate in, an activity that would violate any laws or regulations in the workplace.
Labor Code Section 98.6 prohibits retaliation against employees who file a complaint about labor code violations with the Labor Commissioner or the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
Labor Code 6399.7 prohibits retaliation against employees for filing a complaint or testifying on occupational safety and health issues.
Government Code Section 12653 et al. prohibits retaliation against employees who report to a government entity any fraudulent or illegitimate billing that was improperly submitted for payment to the government.
Government Code Section 12940(h) prohibits retaliation against employees who oppose discrimination or harassment based on race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, or sexual orientation.
Within the health care industry, the Health and Safety Code Section 1278.5 prohibits retaliation against patients, physicians, nurses, and medical staff who whistleblow to the government or its agencies on patient care issues at a healthcare facility.
California has its own Whistleblower Protection Act at Government Code Sections 8547-8547.12 which specifically protects state employees against retribution from reporting waste, fraud, abuse of authority, violation of law or threat to publish health.
If you believe that you have a whistleblower or qui tam claim, or experienced retaliation for reporting illegal activity against the government, contact the experienced qui tam whistleblower law attorneys at Stephen Danz & Associates to discuss your legal options. For a free review of your case, speak to our Sacramento whistleblower and qui tam attorneys today by calling us at 877-789-9707.
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“I currently don’t drive and was faced with numerous legal documents which I needed my attorney’s help on. The associate attorney from Steve’s office who took me under his wing and actually took an Uber (as he doesn’t drive either!) to Steve’s nearest office in Irvine and met with me three separate times to help fill out the paperwork. I never once worried about the litigation process after Steve and his team took my case. The case is still active and it’s clear they have the defendants on the ropes. Can’t wait for the case to settle and getting this far in only a few months is beyond what other law firms told me was very doable. FIVE STARS to this Great Firm. I’ve already recommended several friends to them.
– Dawn R..”
Stephen Danz & Associates-Sacramento