Qui Tam Claimants in New Jersey
The phrase “qui tam” is short for “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur.” It means “who pursues this action on our Lord the King’s behalf as well as his own.” Qui Tam lawsuits are commonly known as whistleblower lawsuits.
Under New Jersey’s version of the False Claims Act, a person is liable to the State of New Jersey if he or she “[k]nowingly presents or causes to be presented to an employee, officer or agent of the State, … a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval.” N.J.S.A. 2A:32C–3(a).
These lawsuits often allege that an employer violated the New Jersey False Claims Act (FCA), N.J.S.A. 2A:32C–1 to –18.
Attorneys for the Qui Tam Complaint in New Jersey
The employment law attorneys at Console Mattiacci Law, LLC, help employees file a qui tam complaint on behalf of the State of New Jersey. These lawsuits can allege that an employer violated the New Jersey False Claims Act (FCA), N.J.S.A. 2A:32C–1 to –18.
To have standing to bring a complaint under N.J.S.A. 2A:32C–9(c), the plaintiff must have direct knowledge of the alleged false claims instead of simply relying on public information. If you have information about your employer committing fraud against the state or federal government, then contact our qui tam attorneys with offices in Philadelphia, PA, and Moorestown, NJ.
Our employment law attorneys also represent clients in federal qui tam claims throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Call Console Mattiacci Law, LLC today to discuss your case.
Types of Claims under the New Jersey False Claims Act (FCA)
In New Jersey, the term “claim” means a request or demand, under a contract or otherwise, for money, property, or services that is made to any employee, officer, or agent of the State, or to any contractor, grantee, or other recipient if the State provides any portion of the money, property, or services requested or demanded, or if the State of New Jersey will reimburse the contractor, grantee, or other recipient for any portion of the money, property, or services requested or demanded.
The term does not include claims, records, or statements made in connection with the State of New Jersey tax laws. [N.J.S.A. 2A:32C–2.]
New Jersey’s False Claim Act (FCA) further provides:
c. No action brought under this act shall be based upon the public disclosure of allegations or transactions in a criminal, civil, or administrative hearing, in an investigation, report, hearing or audit conducted by or at the request of the Legislature or by the news media, unless the action is brought by the Attorney General, or unless the person bringing the action is an original source of the information. For purposes of this subsection, the term “original source” means an individual who has direct and independent knowledge of the information on which the allegations are based and has voluntarily provided the information to the State before filing an action under this act based on the information.
Standing to Bring the FCA Complaint
The New Jersey Legislature did not intend for the FCA to apply to every claim. The history of the FCA shows that it meant to avoid “parasitic lawsuits” based on information previously disclosed to the public.
In 1986, the United States Congress amended the federal False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 to 3733, to limit private person complaints to persons who constitute an “original source” of the information forming the basis of the claim, when the complaint is based on information the news media publicly disclosed. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4)(A)(iii). This change was intended ot strike a balance between encouraging private persons to root out fraud and stifling parasitic lawsuits.
In 2008, the New Jersey Legislature adopted essentially the same “original source” language for its version of the False Claims Act. See N.J.S.A. 2A:32C–9(c). Moreover, Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Jr. described the FCA to the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee “as New Jersey’s whistle blower statute which tracks the federal law ….”
A plaintiff might lack standing if the matter raised in his complaint was publicly known, investigated, and decided before the FCA complaint was filed.
To find out more, contact an employment law attorney at Console Mattiacci Law, LLC. Call 215-545-7676 for a consultation.