the hat is a False Claim? Simply put, if a person has knowingly committed or is guilty of committing a false claim, the civil and/or criminal claim can be recovered. This means that a person who has been injured because of another person s carelessness, negligence, or intentional misconduct may recover damages from the person who caused that injury. Simply put, a plaintiff can recover up to three times the amount of damages awarded in a civil lawsuit under the Minnesota False Claims Act or Federal False Claims Act.
“willful” or “knowledge”
How does the state of Minnesota define “willfully” or “knowingly” commit a false claim? Under state law, “willful” or “knowledge” is defined as knowledge that you have actually or should have actually known that you were not entitled to a particular benefit or privilege. For example, if you are an employer who pays an employee a substantial commission for work that the employee actually did not do, but you did not know that the employee did not actually receive this commission, that would be considered “willful” or “knowledge” in the eyes of the federal False Claims Act. In contrast, if you are an employee who is engaged in an activity and perhaps receives somewhat of a kickback for that activity-but you did not know that you were not entitled to that kickback, that would also qualify under the state law. And, of course, if you are an employee who is actually performing or taking part in activity again, you may be able to recover damages even when you are not aware that it is not what you signed up for.
negligence and self-induced ignorance
What are some of the most common defenses to a false claim under the Minnesota false claims act? Two common defenses are negligence and self-induced ignorance. Negligence is a strict liability statute, which means that if you can show that the defendant (the employer) was negligent, then they are liable for the entire treble damages and the costs of their actions. This does not include things like a company that has a strict liability policy, so if you have a case like this, your best bet may be to assert a “class action” or a “product liability” claim against the employer.
Another defense to a false claim under the Minnesota false claims act is that of self-induced ignorance. Basically, here, the person asserting the fraud is guilty of being “warehouses.” However, for a more limited view of self-induced ignorance, if the defendant can show that the plaintiff is “misinstructed” about the fraud, then that might be sufficient to allow dismissal of the complaint. The Minnesota Supreme Court has held that there must be a practical deception to meet the legal definition of being “warehouses.”
contact an attorney as soon as possible
Whether or not you feel you have a solid case or not, you must retain an attorney. Protecting yourself from the long arms of the court system is not enough; you need an attorney who understands what your rights are under the Minnesota false claims act as well as how to proceed to maximize your chances of winning. If you’ve received a notice of default judgment from the court, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
False claims cases are difficult to prove, and they can become quite complex. Even if you manage to win your case, you may still have to pay attorney’s fees if you’re not the “innocent spouse” targeted by the employer. These costs can quickly add up, even if the case ultimately falls apart. It’s better to be prepared for this eventuality than to face the possibility of thousands of dollars in damages, or worse yet, being fired from your job. If you’ve been wronged, contact an attorney as soon as possible.