Qui tam is a term and concept not even known by many lawyers, much less members of the general public. Qui tam is a Latin term and a type of lawsuit that allows a private citizen to bring a claim on behalf of and in the name of the United States government against a contractor or other party that is engaged in a government contract and defrauding the taxpayers.
People who bring qui tam suits are known as whistleblowers and protected under the Whistleblower Act. They are also entitled to share a percent of the money recovered with the government.
A qui tam whistleblower, Allen Davis, brought a suit against Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in a Los Angeles federal court in 2006. That case very recently settled for $12.5 million, with Davis receiving $2,375,000 of that amount.
Davis was a quality assurance manager for the company's Navigation Systems Division in Salt Lake City. His suit alleged that Northrop failed to comply from November 1998 through February 2007 with stringent testing requirements on components used in military vehicles and for outer-space travel. The requirements were mandated out of concern for the extreme temperatures and other adverse conditions in which the components would be used.
Following the settlement, a U.S. Department of Justice spokesperson stated that companies doing business with the government must either comply with "all the rules" or be held accountable for not doing so.
A Northrop spokesperson stated the company "is pleased that the matter is now behind it."
Related Resource: lawyersandsettlements.com "Whistleblower's Share in Qui Tam Lawsuit More than Two Million" July 4, 2010