In a topic of much interest to San Francisco Qui tam Attorneys, Stericycle, a specialized waste management company, selling its services to companies including schools, hospitals, police and fire departments, has decided to settle a case. In 2008, a former employee reported a qui tam complaint to the government, which was eventually picked up by more than 10 states.
Qui tam is a phrase borrowed from Latin, the abbreviation of “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se hipso in hac parte sequitur” meaning “he who brings a case on behalf of our lord the King, as well as for himself”. In a qui tam action, an individual, on behalf of the United States government, seeks to expose diversion of federal funds by a company. The relator, commonly called a whistleblower, is entitled to a percentage of the recovery of the penalty (generally between 15 to 25 %) as a reward for exposing the wrongdoing and recovering funds for the government. The government can join the process in order to guarantee the success of the suit and be part of negotiations. However strong this claim, the whistleblower needs to be represented by an attorney. Moreover, federal funding must be involved and the fraud alleged must be substantial. It must be fraudulent or criminal acts and not technical violations or non-frivolous in nature.
In the Stericycle’s case, the company organized its billing system to increase rates by 18% every 9 months, for the purpose of evading detection and increasing its revenues. Furthermore, the lawsuit also claims that Stericycle’s upper management was aware of and complicit in the illegal scheme. Stericycle has chosen to settle and pay $26,750,000 in aggregate to the Federal Government and all affected states in exchange for resolving all claims. Nevertheless, Stericycle claims they are agreeing the to settlement to stop litigations and refutes any wrongdoing or faults.
Who to Call
If you believe that a company you work with may be defrauding the government or misusing federal funds, please contact a San Francisco qui tam/ false claims attorney at the Evans Law Firm by calling (415) 441-8669. Evans Law firm is a plaintiff’s firm specializing in whistleblower, qui tam, and consumer fraud litigation, as well as elder abuse, both physical and financial, and employment law.