The recently enacted Maryland False Claims Act allows a private individual to file a civil action on their own behalf and on behalf of the defrauded governmental entity. The individual may seek penalties, court costs and attorney’s fees.
The law presents interesting new twists to the procedural requirements for filing a complaint in these cases. First, the complaint must be filed in camera (meaning, it is not publicly accessible and only the judge can view it) and shall remain under seal (same idea as “in camera”) for at least 60 days. Second, the complaint may not be served on the defendant until the complaint is unsealed and the court orders the complaint served. Finally, within 60 days after the government is served, the government may elect to intervene and proceed with the action. If the government does not elect to intervene and proceed with the action, before unsealing the complaint, the court shall dismiss the action.
However, should the government elect to intervene, and upon a successful litigation, the individual may be awarded between 15 to 25 percent of the proceeds of the action or settlement, proportional to the amount of time and effort that the individual contributed, in addition to penalties, court costs and attorney’s fees.
The law also provides for a cause of action where a company retaliates against an employee or contractor who investigates, initiates, testifies or assists in a False Claims Action. The employee may seek an injunction, reinstatement of seniority status, reinstatement of benefits and rights, two times the amount of lost wages and other benefits, reimbursement for costs and attorney’s fees, punitive damages, and any other relief necessary to “make the employee whole.”
Contact the experienced Employment Lawyers at Luchansky Millman today to assist you in pursuing a claim under the Maryland False Claims Act.