Qui Tam Lawsuits Increasing; Whistleblowers Collecting Millions

Qui Tam, or whistleblower, lawsuits seem to be on the rise. Companies who committed fraud against the government are announcing settlements all the time – and the individuals who reported that fraud are collecting millions. Here are details on three settlements that were recently announced:

NetApp, Inc. - $128 Million

NetApp, Inc., of Sunnyvale California, a data storage company, recently settled a Qui Tam lawsuit regarding the federal supply procurement program for a record $128 million. The company made false statement about the discounts it was giving to other customers, but failed to give those discounts to the government. Igor Kapuscinski, the company’s federal systems manager, reported the fraud by filing a whistleblower lawsuit and collected 15 percent of the settlement for his efforts – nearly $20 million. Reports of the settlement call Mr. Kapuscinski an “amazingly courageous man.”

Quest Diagnostics / Nichols Institute Diagnostics - $262 Million

Quest Diagnostics and Nichols Institute Diagnostics (NID) recently settled a whistleblower lawsuit contending that the companies billed the government for faulty medical tests and harmful Vitamin D therapies for inaccurately diagnosed kidney disease. The billings were done through the government’s Medicare program. While NID pled guilty to a felony charge of misbranding thyroid tests and agreed to pay a $40 million fine, both companies also settled the whistleblower lawsuit for $262 million. The whistleblower himself, biochemist Thomas Cantor, will share in the settlement – to the tune of $45 million.

Zyprexa - $1.4 Billion

This lawsuit alleged that Eli Lilly created a long term care sales force specifically for the purpose of marketing Zyprexa for untested and unapproved off-label uses and misrepresented the potential dangers of the anti-psychotic drug to consumers. Two former employees brought a Qui Tam lawsuit against the company, which later settled for a record $1.4 billion – which is the largest whistleblower settlement ever. Although the exact dollar amount is not yet known, the whistleblowers’ share of the settlement funds should be anywhere from $210 million to $350 million.

Qui Tam lawsuits are very detailed and must be handled delicately due to the amount of money usually involved and that the first person to the courthouse is the one who will share in any settlement or verdict monies the government receives. So, if you believe that your company has engaged in fraudulent activity against the government, schedule a free consultation with an experienced Qui Tam lawyer to discuss your situation confidentially.

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