14. Whistleblower/False Claims Act – The Government Decides Whether to “Intervene” or “Decline”

The government gets to decide whether it will take over your qui tam case or let you prosecute it on your own.

Remember, the reason your case was filed “under seal” was to give the government time to decide whether to take over your case or decline to do so. In lawyer-speak, if the government decides to take over your case and prosecute it, we say the government “intervened.” On the other hand, if the government declines to take over your case, we say, the government “declined” the case. If the government intervenes, you, now called the “relator,” continue as a party, but the government has the primary responsibility. The government may initially decline and then intervene at a later stage for “good cause.” If the government declines, the full burden of going forward with the prosecution of your case falls on you, the relator. Unfortunately, in recent years, about 80% of cases are declined by the government. And, even more unfortunately, a large percentage of those declined cases are dropped or dismissed by relators. Many relators and their lawyers simply do not have the financial resources necessary to proceed with the prosecution of such cases.

Your share of the relator’s award changes depending on whether the government intervenes or declines.