You likely have heard of qui tam lawsuits, but what does qui tam mean? The full Latin phrase is “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur,” roughly meaning “who sues in this matter for the king as well as for himself.”
Today, qui tam refers to the False Claims Act that authorizes private citizens to become whistleblowers and file lawsuits “in the name of” the government.
Per the National Law Review, the following 5 cases represent the most notable qui tam actions of 2021:
1. Navistar Defense
In U.S. ex rel. Burgess v. Navistar Defense, LLC, et al., Mr. Burgess, a former Navistar contracts manager, brought the lawsuit. Navistar paid a $50 million settlement, out of which Mr. Burgess received $11,060,000.
2. St. Jude Medical
In United States ex rel. Debbie Burke v. St. Jude Medical, Inc., Ms. Burke brought her lawsuit after sustaining injury due to the defendant’s defective cardiac device. St. Jude paid $27 million to settle the case.
3. Insitu, Inc.
In United States ex rel. O’Hara v. Insitu, Inc. and The Boeing Company, Mr. O’Hara, a former Insitu executive, accused his former employer, a defense contractor, of knowingly overcharging the government for its “unmanned aerial vehicles,” i.e., drones. Insitu paid $25 million to settle the case, of which Mr. O’Hara’s share totaled $4,625,000.
4. University of Miami
This was actually three cases:
- United States ex rel. Jonathan Lord, M.D. v. University of Miami
- United States ex rel. Philip Chen, M.D. and Joshua Yelen v. University of Miami and Miami-Dade Public Health Trust
- United States ex rel. Mitchell Wallace v. University of Miami and Miami-Dade Public Health Trust
The whistleblowers alleged that the University’s medical facilities made false Medicare claims. The cases settled for a combined $22 million.
5. Archdiocese of New Orleans
In United States ex rel. Romero v. AECOM, et al. Mr. Romero, a former Archdiocese project specialist, sued the Archdiocese and others, alleging that they made fraudulent FEMA claims following Hurricane Katrina. The Archdiocese paid a $1 million settlement.