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qui tam action

: (kwee tam) n. from Latin for "who as well," a lawsuit brought by a private citizen (popularly called a "whistle blower") against a person or company who is believed to have violated the law in the performance of a contract with the government or in violation of a government regulation, when there is a statute which provides for a penalty for such violations. Qui tam suits are brought for "the government as well as the plaintiff." In a qui tam action the plaintiff (the person bringing the suit) will be entitled to a percentage of the recovery of the penalty (which may include large amounts for breach of contract) as a reward for exposing the wrongdoing and recovering funds for the government. Sometimes the federal or state government will intervene and become a party to the suit in order to guarantee success and be part of any negotiations and conduct of the case. This type of action is generally based on significant violations which involve fraudulent or criminal acts, and not technical violations and/or errors.


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