Massachusetts enacts whistleblower law to allow qui tam cases

Nov. 1, 2000 — Massachusetts has enacted its own version of the False Claims Act, becoming at least the third state this year to do so.

The law allows whistleblowers to bring "qui tam" lawsuits against companies that commit fraud against the state and cause it financial losses. Companies found liable in a qui tam case would have to pay civil penalties and up to three times the state's losses.

Whistleblowers who bring successful qui tam cases would be rewarded with 15 percent to 30 percent of whatever money the government recovers as a result of their qui tam lawsuits.

Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly had urged the state legislature to pass the proposed law. He said that it would greatly increase the state's ability to stop fraud in health care and on the state's hug Central Artery/Tunnel project.

The measure was signed into law by Gov. Paul Cellucci in July. Delaware and Hawaii had enacted similar laws earlier this year.

Links to the text of state "qui tam" laws are on the "State laws" page.