There is so much buzz around the word lately, but what does qui tam mean? Below are some popular terms used in discussing cases brought under the state and federal False Claims Acts, SEC Whistleblower Act, and the CIFPA.
Qui Tam Definition, Literally
“Qui Tam” is short for the Latin phrase: “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur.” The Latin phrase is interpreted in English as : “[he] who sues in this matter for the king as well as for himself.”
In the Context of Whistleblower Actions
Often times you will here “qui tam” (pronounced key tam) in conjunction with a lawsuit under the False Claims Act or whistleblower lawsuits.
This is because under the False Claims Act, an individual with knowledge of fraud waste or abuse being committed against the government can bring a case ON BEHALF of the government.
Stated differently, under this very specific statute, the False Claims Act, an individual can stand in the shoes of the government (the entity harmed) and bring a lawsuit seeking recovery for the damages the government sustained.
What is a Relator
“Relator” is another term used to describe the whistleblower or person bringing the qui tam lawsuit on behalf of the government. Relator is also used in the context of the California Insurance Fraud Prevention Act.
There are many pros and cons to filing a qui tam case. It is likely you mostly know of the pros: a significant reward if successful. It is important to speak with a an experienced qui tam lawyer to discuss the filing of a case. This discussion must include recognizng there are cons to filing a case. The pros and cons must be carefully weighed.