Qui Tam Action Law and Legal Definition

A claim under the Federal False Claims Act is filed on behalf of the United States, and often referred to as a "qui tam" action. A qui tam suit is a suit brought by an individual on behalf of the United States government seeking to expose and thereby stop the wasting of federal funds. The qui tam relator, often referred to as a whistleblower, if successful in his or her suit, is entitled to a percentage of the funds recouped by the federal government, generally between 15 to 25 % of the recovery. The claim is brought by anyone with knowledge of the fraud, including health care administrators, doctors, nurses and patients. However, a private citizen or company can not file a qui tam action without an attorney. This is because the relator brings his or her case on behalf of the government, and the U.S. government can not be represented in court by a non-attorney.

In order to make a qui tam claim, federal funding must be involved, and the fraud alleged must be substantial and non-frivolous in nature. Anyone who learns credible information that a false or fraudulent claim for federal funds has been submitted or paid is eligible to file a qui tam action, as long as they didn't learn about the fraud in the newspapers, or another public forum.