Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner
I have represented whistleblowers for many years. A "whistleblower" is someone who reports fraud perpetrated against the government, typically by the company for whom the whistleblower works. It takes courage to report fraud by an employer, but it is this very courage that is needed to hold companies accountable for their criminal activity. And let's face it, without the justice brought about by whistleblowers, we tax-payers will be the ones paying for the fraudulent charges the companies bill the government.
Approximately six years ago, as a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Congressman Bruce Braley added an amendment to the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. His amendment was designed to properly protect whistleblowers against retaliation. Yesterday, President Obama signed the Bill, with Congressman Braley's amendment, into law. This new law ensures that federal whistleblowers are able to recover compensatory damages, including attorney's fees, interest, reasonable expert witness fees, and costs.
Here's some of the language that was signed into law:
SEC. 107. REMEDIES.
(a) Attorney Fees- Section 1204(m)(1) of title 5, United States Code, is amended by striking `agency involved' and inserting `agency where the prevailing party was employed or had applied for employment at the time of the events giving rise to the case'.
(b) Damages- Sections 1214(g)(2) and 1221(g)(1)(A)(ii) of title 5, United States Code, are amended by striking all after `travel expenses,' and inserting `any other reasonable and foreseeable consequential damages, and compensatory damages (including interest, reasonable expert witness fees, and costs).' each place it appears.
President Obama and Congressman Braley, like all of the lawmakers that supported this law, should be proud of their efforts.
If you work for a company that fraudulently bills the government, please come forward with what you know. I would be happy to meet with you and explain your legal rights, so that you can make teh most informed decision you can make in bringing about justice.
About the author:
Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association recently named him "Trial Lawyer of the Year" (2011). He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against train, truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners. His law firm, it is believed, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA. Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of "The Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers (2012 edition) and has been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2012)-- national publications that honor the top lawyers in America.