Making the decision to become what is termed a “whistleblower” and file a lawsuit under the False Claims Act can be difficult for those who fear retaliation from an employer. This, however, is the very reason that the False Claims Act was created: to allow those who see corporate wrongdoing the chance to increase public safety without the fear of reprisal. Missouri and Illinois burn and explosion injury victims may be interested in learning just how important whistleblower testimony can be in holding negligent companies responsible in civil court.
One False Claims Act case receiving a great deal of attention in the media is that of former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. Once it came out in 2013 that the seven-time winner of the famous bicycle race admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he had engaged in illicit doping over the years, Armstrong was not only stripped of every single one of his Tour de France wins, he was also sued in civil court under the False Claims Act.
The man who originally brought the case against Armstrong was Floyd Landis, a former teammate of Armstrong’s who had also confessed to doping. In the wake of that public admission to doping, the government soon joined in on Landis’s False Claims Act case. The reason this case qualified as a whistleblower case is because of the fact that the United States Parcel Service sponsored Armstrong’s racing team during the years 1998 to 2004. Over that period of time, the USPS shelled out at least $40 million in fees, which is a significant amount of money. According to government officials, the USPS would never have paid this sum of money had it been aware of the team’s engaging in doping. This clearly went against the sponsorship contract between the team and the USPS.
Armstrong made a motion for this whistleblower lawsuit to be dismissed, but a judge recently ruled that the case will stand. The judge ruled that, while there could be merits to the defendant’s motion, this could only be proven if the case actually proceeded.
Armstrong stands to lose up to $100 million if this case proves successful — or even more, depending on the judge’s ultimate ruling.
Another recent court ruling regarding False Claims Act lawsuits held that the government cannot retaliate against its workers who give truthful testimony in court cases that stem from their job duties. The Supreme Court pointed that that, since courtroom proceedings by their very nature require truthful statements from witnesses, it would be unjust to allow governmental entities to fire or otherwise punish witnesses who testify truthfully in whistleblower cases. To do otherwise would risk witnesses to wrongdoing lying in court cases out of fear for their jobs.
Considering that False Claims Act cases are intended to promote public safety, this would be an untenable risk to take.
Tragically, companies and manufacturers often decide to cut corners when making or selling products to consumers in Missouri, Illinois, and the rest of the country. When this happens, the results can be catastrophic. Defective products can lead to damaging or even deadly incidents like car crashes, gas explosions or serious fires. Burn and explosion injuries can severely limit — or even end — the lives of innocent victims. They can also have serious repercussions for a victim’s family members as they strive to move forward after such an injury. In the event that a family member or someone else had insider knowledge about activity that has violated the False Claims Act, they may be able to bring a whistleblower claim against that party.
Whistleblower testimony can be critical for winning a False Claims Act or whistleblower claim case. My St. Louis personal injury law firm prides itself on helping its clients obtain the financial restitution to which they are entitled. Please call us, free of charge, at 1-888-586-7041 to discuss your case. Not only will the phone call cost you nothing, but neither will an initial consultation to further discuss the merits of your potential case. Additionally, we accept cases on a contingency basis, and so you will pay nothing until, and only if, we obtain money on your behalf.
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Source: Article: “Public Worker Testimony Is Protected, Justices Rule” by ADAM LIPTAK, The New York Times and Article: “Lance Armstrong loses bid to have lawsuit dismissed” by Brent Schrotenboer, USA Today.