Whistleblower lawsuits under the federal False Claims Act have markedly increased over the past decade. While the amount of individual settlements and judgments vary, over time the government has paid out an average of about 15% of its recoveries as awards to whistleblowers. This investigation used a classification tree algorithm to analyze a sample of recent False Claims Act qui tam settlements, identifying several factors that distinguish larger settlements from smaller ones. Notably, the public or private status of corporate defendants, the federal judicial circuit in which the case is settled, type of case, case duration, relator status, and whether the Department of Justice intervened in the case are significant indicators of settlement amount in qui tam cases. Companies can use this information to better evaluate their exposure to liability for whistleblower litigation, while potential whistleblowers and their counsel can use it to evaluate the likelihood of winning an award.
ALSB Journal of Employment and Labor Law
Date of publication
Cowart, Tammy; Schulzke, Kurt; and Jackson, Sherry, "Carrots and Sticks of Whistleblowing: What Classification Trees Say About False Claims Act Lawsuits" (2019). Accounting, Finance & Business Law Faculty Publications and Presentations. Paper 6.