Well, you know the Amgen case was quite an adventure. It started about six or seven years ago, and it involved a former employee of the company that was very concerned about wrongdoing that was going on there. We took a look at the case and we agreed that, indeed, very bad things were happening. We alerted the government about it. We brought a False Claim Act action against the company putting forth her concerns. And ultimately, after some years of litigation and assembling a team of lawyers to take the case all the way to the eve of trial, Amgen ultimately settled for $762 million to resolve our case and several others concerning their actions.
What is the False Claims Act?
The Federal False Claims Act is a law that encourages those who know about fraud against the government to come forward and alert the government about what's been going on. In our experience, whistleblowers often work at companies that are cheating the government, or they used to work there -- and they have inside knowledge often times as to what's been going on that the government's not aware of. When they come forward, and if the case is successful, whistleblowers are rewarded with a share of what the government recovers.
Should I sign a severance agreement?
Whether you should sign a severance agreement is something upon which you should take legal advice. We see situations in which employers are effectively trying to silence whistleblowers with a severance payment. Now, whether you have signed one, or whether there is one which you are considering, each case needs to be assessed on its own merits. You need legal advice about the effect of that severance agreement.
Can I be rewarded for blowing the whistle?
The Federal False Claims Act incentivizes whistleblowers to come forward by offering a reward should the case be successful. Now, we see whistleblowers who come forward for all sorts of reasons, but principally it is because they cannot live with the wrongdoing going on around them. But there is a bonus under the Federal False Claims Act: the whistleblower is eligible to receive between fifteen and thirty percent of the government's recovery. (With the notable exception of the new SEC program which protects shareholders.)
Do I have to pay to file a whistleblower suit?
Whistleblowers are often concerned that filing a lawsuit will cost them money, that is not the case with our firm. We operate on a contingency fee basis; that means that there are no upfront costs to you. The law firm advances the costs of the case and, if we don't succeed, we don't receive payment.
Can Delaney Kester represent clients outside of California and Massachusetts?
Clients sometimes ask us: "Can you represent me? Because I don't live in California, and I don't live in Massachusetts." And the answer is "yes." We have offices in those states, and certainly we have represented people in those states; but our ability to represent whistleblowers is national. We are able to bring cases throughout the country to try to stop wrongdoing that's occurring anywhere it occurs.