Whistleblower (Qui Tam) Defense

Our Federal Attorneys Provide Vigorous Representation for Corporate Clients in Defense of Whistleblower (Qui Tam) Claims

While federal whistleblower statutes serve an important role in our society, they also present extreme risks for corporations and other businesses. Not only do these statutes make it extraordinarily easy for individuals (who are often disgruntled former employees) to file damaging claims, but they also require federal authorities to investigate when the basic requirements for pleading a whistleblower claim have been met. This, coupled with the financial incentive provided to whistleblowers (or “relators”), means that companies in all industries are at high-risk for qui tam litigation, and those that fail to defend themselves effectively can face substantial federal penalties and reputational harm.

In today’s world, brushing off a whistleblower claim is simply not an option. Not only will relators (and their plaintiff’s attorneys) and federal prosecutors vigorously pursue damages and relator compensation, but in many cases companies will face follow-on retaliation claims as well. As a result, companies facing whistleblower claims need to take swift and proactive measures to protect themselves, and they must also prepare themselves for the possibility of protracted federal and administrative litigation.

At Oberheiden, P.C., we bring centuries of federal experience to defending clients in whistleblower litigation. This includes all stages of the qui tam process – from government investigation and intervention through trial – as well as retaliation litigation and related civil claims. If your company is being targeted in a whistleblower lawsuit, there are steps you need to take immediately. To speak with a member of our federal defense team in confidence, call 888-519-4897 now. 

Why to Choose Oberheiden, P.C. for Federal Whistleblower (Qui Tam) Defense

Whistleblower litigation is unique in a number of key respects. Most fundamentally, it involves a lawsuit filed by a private citizen on behalf of the federal government. The government relies on whistleblowers to share information that it would not be able to discover otherwise, and it compensates them handsomely for their efforts: Under the False Claims Act, for example, relators can receive anywhere from 15% to 30% percent of the amount the government recovers in the litigation. Depending on the scope and nature of the allegations involved, this can potentially be millions of dollars.

Whistleblower cases are also unique in that they involve direct interaction with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ has a legal obligation to investigate all facially-compliant whistleblower complaints; and, if it decides to “intervene” in the case, the DOJ will prosecute the case directly. For companies that are used to facing civil litigation involving private counterparties, going up against the vast resources of the DOJ is a different experience entirely.

At Oberheiden, P.C., our practice is devoted to federal defense, and we have successfully represented companies across the country in qui tam litigation. In addition, several of our defense lawyers formerly served as prosecutors and trial attorneys with the DOJ. As a result, we are able to offer our clients an in-depth perspective on whistleblower claims, and we are able to efficiently build defense strategies that are tailored specifically to the DOJ’s approach to investigation, intervention, and prosecution.

This is Why You Are in Good Hands

Nick is extremely professional and knows what he is doing. He is also very kind as a person (unless he is in court!) I would recommend him to just about anyone if they need an amazing lawyer that is top notch and would frankly be scary to face in the court room. He will always do a great job representing his clients. Thank you very much.read more
Anna Pham
Anna P.
Nick is the absolute top expert in any federal case
Jeff Crilley
Jeff C.
Smart. Smarter. Nick. As a healthcare executive, I once ran into a litigation issue. I hired Nick and, literally, before I knew it the case was resolved in my favor. Nick has an incredible presence and every lawyer in the room knows that Nick will do exactly what he says. It was a mesmerizing experience to see Nick in action! Very calm and determined, Nick is the absolute top litigator.read more
Whitney Bryant Milam
Whitney Bryant M.
Nick has been a friend and trusted advisor for almost 10 years. As anyone just looking at his bio can tell, Nick is an outstanding attorney in highest demand across the country. All healthcare providers should hire attorney Nick Oberheiden!! You will not be disappointed.
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Pamela M.
Dr. Oberheiden has served as council and represented our company on several occasions, even during depositions, contract reviews and providing invaluable advice on multiple occasions that transpired into multilevel success in our business. He and his teams knowledge of both local, state and federal statues, accompanied by their areas of expertise law regarding best asset protection, estate planning and wealth management solutions have provided both professional and personal growth for my companies, safeguarding them and protection my family’s name and legacy. I would recommend this firm and Dr. Nick Oberheiden without hesitation. I have no doubt that you will experience success with his council.read more
Corban Milam
Corban M.
I have worked with Nick Oberheiden for over ten years on various litigation matters in and around New York City. Nick is an accomplished and seasoned lawyer and litigator---efficient, reliable, practical and, at the same time, highly academic. Nick will take the time necessary to understand a client's short- and long-term goals, and tailor his representation and advice to work toward and achieve those ends. Nick is a zealous advocate for his client, and will never sacrifice his client's interests for a quick or easy resolution to a case. At the end of the day, Nick is a great person to know if you or your business is in need of a top litigator or defense attorney.read more
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When I was faced with one of the most terrifying and unexpected situations in my life, I called Dr. Oberheiden. I had vetted other attorneys and came right back to him. His knowledge, expertise, and reassuring presence made the decision easy. Throughout my case, his level of communication was what I needed and expected. He constantly updated me on the status and progress of my case and was able to “talk me off the ledge” when the stress of it all would set in. He is simply the best of the best...there’s not a question about it.read more
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Nick is a superb lawyer with exceptional skills and a formidable personality. Nick works harder, he thinks smarter, and he delivers faster than any lawyer you will ever find. Good, better, Nick!
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1st class service. Atty. Iberheiden and Atty. Lynette Byrd were always available for us during the whole process of our Home Health Audit. Thank you so much!
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I am a healthcare compliance consultant with almost 25 years of experience. The one advice I have for anyone seeking a lawyer with unbeatable healthcare law experience is to hire attorney Nick Oberheiden. For the past 8 years, I have worked with Nick on a variety of healthcare matters—from DEA compliance to DOL supervisory rules to setting up PT and pain management clinics. I have never once seen a client not being 100% intrigued by Nick’s proven expertise in the field of healthcare structuring and compliance. Dr. S.T.read more
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Nick Oberheiden is a spectacular lawyer, a true life saver. Nick is simply the very best!
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Nick Oberheiden is the absolute best federal litigation attorney. Nick gives you the immediate comfort of feeling 100% protected. He is polite, respectful— and extremely compelling. His legal strategy turned out to be brilliant.
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Great firm, with a great firm record of experienced healthcare and litigation attorneys.
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When you choose Oberheiden, P.C. to represent your company in federal whistleblower litigation:

  • We will quickly assess the source, nature, and scope of the allegations against your company. When facing a whistleblower lawsuit, your first order of business needs to be to assess the validity of the relator’s allegations. This means working diligently to identify the source, nature, and scope of the allegations underlying the relator’s complaint. With our attorneys’ extensive experience in federal litigation, counseling, and compliance matters, we can work with you to obtain a clear picture of the relator’s (and potentially the government’s) case against you.
  • We will immediately begin working directly with the DOJ. From the time you engage us, we will begin working immediately with the DOJ on your behalf. We will begin raising questions about the veracity of the relator’s allegations, and we will begin executing a defense strategy designed to quickly put the matter to rest.
  • We will work aggressively to convince the DOJ not to intervene. In qui tam litigation, the DOJ’s decision to intervene is a critical stage in the process. While relators can pursue their claims independently if the DOJ chooses not to intervene, they will usually face an uphill battle in doing so.
  • If necessary, we will tailor our representation to obtaining a favorable pre-trial resolution or a positive result at trial. If it is not possible to prevent DOJ intervention (or if the relator chooses to pursue his or her claim independently), we will shift our focus to obtaining a favorable resolution either prior to or during trial. While this may mean negotiating a settlement, it could also still mean convincing the relator’s attorney, the DOJ, or the judge that no judgment is warranted.
  • We will keep you informed and work closely with you every step of the way. Our senior attorneys will remain in close contact with you throughout the duration of your case. We will keep you informed, answer your questions, listen to your suggestions, and make sure you are confident in the direction of your defense.

More about Our Federal Whistleblower Defense Practice

Cases We Handle

  • Health Care Fraud (Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, and Department of Labor (DOL) Fraud)
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) Violations
  • Patient Data Privacy and Protection Violations (including Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Violations)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) Violations
  • Securities Fraud Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)
  • Environmental Law Violations
  • Consumer Protection Law Violations
  • Other Federal Offenses and Regulatory Violations

Are you accused of a federal crime?

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(310) 873-8140

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Strategic Defense at All Stages of Federal Whistleblower Litigation

There are several stages involved in the qui tam litigation process; and, when facing a whistleblower claim, it is essential to tailor your defense to each individual stage. In our practice, our attorneys work as a team to pursue favorable outcomes at each stage in light of the unique legal, factual, and procedural aspects involved:

1. The Whistleblower Complaint

Upon being served with a whistleblower complaint, the target company’s work begins immediately. There are deadlines that apply, and getting out in front of the government’s investigation can be critical to framing the complaint in a favorable way. Whistleblower complaints often contain sweeping allegations and generalizations that belie the truth of the matter at hand, and targeted organizations must work swiftly to prevent false allegations and mischaracterizations from getting out of hand.

2. The Government Investigation

Assuming the relator has met the basic pleading requirements to initiate a qui tam lawsuit, the government will investigate the allegations set forth in the complaint. Taking an aggressive stance during the investigative process and proactively challenging the relator’s reliability and assumptions are key to convincing federal prosecutors that intervention is unwarranted. At this stage, targeted companies can dispute the veracity of the relator’s allegations by all available means – from attacking the relator’s motives to casting doubt on the government’s ability to prove the allegations in court.

3. The Government’s Decision on Intervention

Based on the evidence obtained during its investigation, the government will choose to either intervene in the case (in which federal prosecutors will pursue the case directly) or decline further involvement. Preventing government intervention is a major success, as relators have a much more difficult time pursuing whistleblower claims independently. In fact, in many cases the evidence (or lack thereof) will be such that the relator will not move forward with the case if the government declines to intervene.

4. Pre-Trial Practice and Settlement Negotiations

If the government decides to intervene, it will often – though not always – be in the target company’s best interests to negotiate a pre-trial resolution. In federal whistleblower cases, settlement is an option similar to private civil litigation. However, if the government’s decision is misguided, or if there are constitutional or other defenses available that call the government’s ability to win a verdict into question, then it may be in the target company’s best interests to fight for a pre-trial dismissal of charges or take the case to court.

5. Federal Trial and Appeal

When we take federal whistleblower cases to trial, we continue our team approach and utilize our senior attorneys’ varied backgrounds and skillsets to present strong cases for dismissal. The trial process for qui tam actions is similar to the trial process for other types of claims, and our attorneys call upon their experience in more than 500 federal trials to strategically defend our clients.

Potential Defense Strategies in Federal Qui Tam Litigation

While the complexity of federal qui tam litigation presents some unique challenges, it also means that companies targeted in whistleblower complaints have a variety of potential types of defenses available. When you engage our firm to represent you, we will assess all available defense options and build a comprehensive and cohesive defense strategy that is designed to protect your company to the greatest extent possible. Some of the types of defenses available in qui tam litigation include:

  • Procedural Deficiencies – Whistleblower complaints must comply with all applicable provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). Exposing procedural and technical deficiencies in relators’ can allow companies to fend off claims before the government initiates its investigation in some cases.
  • Failure to File a Disclosure Statement – In addition to the initial complaint, the relator must also file a disclosure statement with the DOJ. This statement must include, “substantially all material evidence and information the [relator] possesses.” Failure to file a complete and accurate disclosure statement can provide grounds for dismissal of a whistleblower complaint.
  • Inadequate Evidence – As in all cases, in qui tam litigation, the government (or the relator) has the burden of proof. If there is not sufficient evidence to prove a statutory or regulatory violation, then no penalties are warranted.
  • Safe Harbors and Other Statutory Defenses – In many cases, conduct that appears to be unlawful will be protected under a safe harbor, exemption, or other statutory exception. We have successfully defended numerous clients by proving that their actions fell within a statutory safe harbor or exception.
  • Constitutional Protections – From the prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures to the protection against double jeopardy, the protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution will provide essential defenses in many cases.

Schedule a Confidential Case Assessment at Oberheiden, P.C.

If your company is facing a federal whistleblower complaint, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free initial case assessment. To speak with senior attorneys on our federal defense team in confidence, call 888-519-4897 or inquire online now.

Your Whistleblower Defense Team

Potential Defense Strategies in Federal Qui Tam Litigation

While the complexity of federal qui tam litigation presents some unique challenges, it also means that companies targeted in whistleblower complaints have a variety of potential types of defenses available. When you engage our firm to represent you, we will assess all available defense options and build a comprehensive and cohesive defense strategy that is designed to protect your company to the greatest extent possible. Some of the types of defenses available in qui tam litigation include:

  • Procedural Deficiencies – Whistleblower complaints must comply with all applicable provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). Exposing procedural and technical deficiencies in relators’ can allow companies to fend off claims before the government initiates its investigation in some cases.
  • Failure to File a Disclosure Statement – In addition to the initial complaint, the relator must also file a disclosure statement with the DOJ. This statement must include, “substantially all material evidence and information the [relator] possesses.” Failure to file a complete and accurate disclosure statement can provide grounds for dismissal of a whistleblower complaint.
  • Inadequate Evidence – As in all cases, in qui tam litigation, the government (or the relator) has the burden of proof. If there is not sufficient evidence to prove a statutory or regulatory violation, then no penalties are warranted.
  • Safe Harbors and Other Statutory Defenses – In many cases, conduct that appears to be unlawful will be protected under a safe harbor, exemption, or other statutory exception. We have successfully defended numerous clients by proving that their actions fell within a statutory safe harbor or exception.
  • Constitutional Protections – From the prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures to the protection against double jeopardy, the protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution will provide essential defenses in many cases.

Schedule a Confidential Case Assessment at Oberheiden, P.C.

If your company is facing a federal whistleblower complaint, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free initial case assessment. To speak with senior attorneys on our federal defense team in confidence, call 888-519-4897 or inquire online now.

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