Committed to protecting consumers from financial and physical harm
The consumer class action attorneys at Thornton Law Firm LLP understand the emotional and financial toll a corporate misrepresentation or fraud can have. Through numerous cases, we have helped victims obtain justice against companies and industries that prey on consumers:
The firm pools individual claims from around the country into powerful class actions that hold companies accountable for their conduct.
Our attorneys have extensive experience pursuing complex individual, nationwide class action, and multi-district litigation (MDL) claims in state and federal courts.
Located in Boston, Massachusetts, our attorneys can help keep you out of harms way. Call 1-888-491-9726 or contact us online for a free consultation on how we can help you today.
Changing the way companies do business, one lawsuit at a time
Thornton Law Firm is experienced in a wide range of consumer law cases:
The firm is involved in the following litigation:
- Claims in various jurisdictions against The Travelers Insurance Company (and other related companies), OneBeacon America Insurance Company, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Century Indemnity Company, and others alleging violation of consumer protection and insurance bad faith laws.
These claims arise out of underlying asbestos personal injury or wrongful death claims against various asbestos defendants who were insured by these companies. In response to the personal injury and wrongful death claims, the insurers— on behalf of the asbestos defendants— asserted an unfounded state-of-the-art defense. Because of this, the plaintiffs were forced to spend time litigating, delaying the ultimate resolution of their claims against the asbestos defendants. This delay caused the plaintiffs damages.
- Claims against National Real Estate Information Services, Inc., ATM Corporation of America, First American Signature Services, Inc., Trans State Closers, Inc., Liberty Title & Escrow Co., Inc., and Service Link, Inc. alleging their use of settlement service agents who are not Massachusetts attorneys, or use of Massachusetts attorneys who have been divested of all meaningful responsibility and oversight, violates Massachusetts law.
The plaintiffs allege that the defendants and their agents are engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. As a result of these practices, Massachusetts attorneys who properly participate in and supervise the conveyancing process, such as plaintiffs and class members, have been and continue to be excluded from serving as conveyancing attorneys, which has resulted in lost business and lost revenues and profits.
- Claims against various micro-chip and memory card manufacturers arising from the companies’ participation in a conspiracy to restrain the trade for and sale of static random access memory (“SRAM”). The plaintiffs allege that the defendants violated numerous laws, including consumer protection and anti-competition laws.
- Claims against NVIDIA Corp., Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., and ATI Technologies, Inc. alleging that the defendants conspired to fix graphics processing unit/card prices and to wrongfully allocate those to certain customers and markets. Plaintiffs allege that these companies engaged in conduct that violates various laws, including engaging in conduct that amounts to a conspiracy in restraint of trade. The plaintiffs have sought injunctive relief.
- A class action seeking payment from Philip Morris for CT scans for long-time pack-a-day smokers. The scans, which are not covered by insurance, detect lung cancer when it is still treatable. The case does not seek any monetary damages.
Thornton Law Firm class action attorneys
Trust our Massachusetts class action litigation attorneys to help
Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm LLP online or at 1-888-491-9726 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in consumer litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.
You have a story to tell. Something is wrong at work. You know it. You know that what is happening isn’t right and isn’t fair. Someone should do something about it. You. With the help of an experienced whistleblower litigation lawyer, you can bring fraud to light without endangering yourself and without having to pay legal fees.
Fraud is known by many names and comes in many forms: False claims, overbilling, upcoding, unbundling, kickbacks, and false certification. But they all have one thing in common. The individuals and companies that commit fraud are cheating federal and state governments. And when that happens, we all pay the price.
At Thornton Law Firm LLP, we listen to you. Call 1-888-491-9726 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in whistleblower litigation. You can also contact us online to see how we can help you.
Kinds of fraud
Although federal and state governments are the victims of numerous kinds of fraud, the majority of fraud cases involve Medicare, Medicaid, healthcare, and defense contracts. Bad actors in these fields commonly take advantage of complicated billing schemes or large contracts to hide their fraud.
But big or small, fraudulent claims add up. Hundreds of cases are filed with the federal government each year, leading to more than $10 billion in recoveries.
Those who report fraud, known in legal terms as relators (rhymes with “relay”), and commonly as whistleblowers, have some of the most powerful and effective laws in the country on their side. The Federal False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733, which provides the legal framework for claims alleging fraud against the federal government, does several important things for a whistleblower:
- Provides specific protection for the whistleblower from discharge, demotion, suspension, threats, or other harassment or discrimination that the whistleblower may encounter due to lawful actions were taken in the furtherance of a whistleblower claim, if the employee still works for the employer; 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h)
- Provides for filing a whistleblower complaint under seal, which means that no one other than the government, not even the defendants alleged to have committed the fraud, can know of the complaint until after the government has investigated the claims; 31 U.S.C. §3730(b)(2)
- Allows the whistleblower to share from 15 percent and up to 25 percent of the entire government’s successful recovery. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(d)
Eleven states and the District of Columbia also have their own false claim acts that closely resemble the federal act.
What you need to know
Contingent fee representation
Whistleblower laws allow for the contingent fee representation of whistleblowers. What’s more, the Federal False Claims Act also provides that whistleblower attorney fees are paid by the entity that committed the fraud in the event of a government recovery. This means that you pay no out-of-pocket expenses to have an attorney represent you. We are only paid if we recover on the claim.
Who can be a whistleblower?
Anyone. It is possible for anyone who knows of fraud against the government to become a whistleblower. Typically, individuals who know about fraud are employees or former employees of the companies committing the fraud.
Employees or former employees may have the best evidence to support their claim.
Only the first whistleblower to file can recover
There can only be one whistleblower claim based on specific information. The first to file a claim about a particular fraud preempts other whistleblowers and their claims. In addition, you cannot bring a whistleblower complaint if information about the fraud becomes public before you bring a claim.
Thornton Law Firm whistleblower litigation lawyers
Trust Massachusetts fraud attorneys to help
Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm online or at 1-888-491-9726 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in whistleblower litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.
What is a whistleblower lawsuit?
A whistleblower lawsuit is filed under the federal False Claims Act or a similar state statute. False claims acts allow people who know fraud is being perpetrated against the government to file lawsuits to stop the fraud. People who file claims are commonly referred to as whistleblowers or relators.
Whistleblowers are entitled to compensation for stopping fraud against the government. Only the first whistleblower who files a claim for a particular fraudulent act or scheme is entitled to compensation, so it is important to act quickly if you know the government is being defrauded.
Call 1-888-491-9726 or contact us online to discuss suspected fraud against the government.
Common types of fraud against the government
The federal False Claims Act, codified at 31 U.S.C. Sections 3729-3733, prohibits the following:
- Knowingly presenting or causing to be presented a false claim for payment or approval
- Knowingly making, using or causing to be made or used a false record or statement used in a fraudulent claim
- Conspiring to violate the False Claims Act
- Falsely certifying the type or amount of property used by the government
- Certifying government receipt of property on a document without being certain the information is correct
- Knowingly buying property for government use from an unauthorized vendor
- Knowingly making, using or causing to be made or used a false record to avoid or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit property to the government
Knowingly presenting a false claim for payment and knowingly making false statements to support a claim are the two most common violations of the False Claims Act.
IRS fraud is another common form of fraud against the U.S. government, and special rules apply encouraging IRS whistleblowers to come forward and file a claim. People with information about large tax underpayments, including accounting errors, tax fraud or evasion can receive up to 30 percent of the money recovered by the government based on the whistleblower’s information.
SEC whistleblowing is another area where special rules apply. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission program also compensates informants with up to 30 percent of the amount recovered, but the recovery ordered must exceed $1 million for the whistleblower to receive compensation. The informant must have provided the information voluntarily, and individuals are excluded from participation in the program if they were convicted of violating related U.S. laws. The purpose of the restrictions is to avoid awarding those who participate in fraud from later profiting from their actions.
Call 1-888-491-9726 or contact us online to discuss suspected fraud against the government.
Federal False Claims Act
The legal term for a person who reports fraud against the government is “relator.” The Federal False Claims Act shields relators from retaliation and provides a formula for compensating them. The provisions are as follows:
- Protection for the whistleblower from discharge, demotion, suspension, threats or other harassment or discrimination against the whistleblower by the employer if the whistleblower still works for the employer under 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h)
- Confidentiality for the whistleblower to file a fraud complaint under seal, which means that the defendant employers are not notified of a complaint until after the government investigates the claim under 31 U.S.C. §3730(b)(2)
- Compensation for the whistleblower to share from 15 to 25 percent of the government’s successful recovery under 31 U.S.C. § 3730(d)
State false claim acts
Besides the obvious incentive to root out fraud in state governments, the federal government provides an additional monetary incentive for states to pass false claims acts similar to the federal statutes. Under section 1909 of the Social Security Act, states with qualifying similar laws receive a 10 percent increase in their share of amounts recovered from whistleblower lawsuits.
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted false claims acts:
Contact Massachusetts false claims act lawyers today
Thornton Law Firm LLP is dedicated to providing personalized service to clients across the nation. We offer free consultations and work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that if we don’t win your case, you don’t pay legal fees. Call 1-888-491-9726 or contact us online to discuss suspected fraud against the government. Remember that the first person to file a whistleblower lawsuit is the person entitled to compensation if the government recovers money based on the information.
What are the IRS whistleblowing rules?
The Internal Revenue Service whistleblowing rules are designed to reward people who provide information leading the IRS to recover unpaid or underpaid tax obligations. The IRS issued updated whistleblowing procedures in 2012, and as we have come to expect from the IRS, the procedures for seeking a reward are somewhat complicated. The experienced attorneys at Thornton Law Firm LLP have reviewed the rules extensively and are prepared to assist you in pursuing an IRS whistleblower claim.
Thornton Law Firm LLP provides quality legal representation to SEC whistleblower clients nationwide. Call us at 1-888-491-9726 or contact us online today.
Who can get a reward?
IRS rules allow potential rewards for informants who provide specific, credible information to the IRS if the information results in the collection of unpaid or underpaid taxes, penalties or interest in excess of certain threshold amounts.
The IRS awards compensation for claims properly filed under IRS rules regarding unpaid tax obligations. The IRS does not provide compensation for claims of securities fraud under SEC whistleblowing rules or any other violation of state or federal false claims acts.
What do I get for being an IRS whistleblower?
The federal internal revenue code (IRC Section 7623(a)) allows the IRS to give the following rewards to fraud informants:
- $2 million threshold — If the taxes, penalties, interest and other amounts in dispute exceed $2 million and you meet a few other qualifications, the IRS rewards you with 15 to 30 percent of the amount collected.
- Individual income greater than $200,000 — If the case involves the unpaid tax obligations of an individual whose annual gross income is more than $200,000, you can receive up to 15 percent of the amount collected with a cap of $10 million.
If you disagree with the outcome of a claim, you may be eligible to appeal to the tax court.
Why do I need an attorney to file an IRS whistleblowing claim?
Despite laws intended to give whistleblowers incentives to come forward and to protect informants from negative consequences, filing a whistleblower claim is still a big deal. IRS claims can be problematic for several reasons including the sheer volume of claims the IRS receives. One of our experienced IRS whistleblowers attorneys can help you navigate the process and minimize any negative consequences of being a whistleblower.
When you engage our attorneys, we take the following steps to ensure the success of your claim:
- Evaluating the information in your possession
- Conducting additional investigations to maximize your potential reward
- Preparing your claim to meet IRS requirements
- Managing your claim throughout the IRS investigation
- Protecting your anonymity
- Enforcing the law prohibiting retaliation against you for stepping forward
Let Thornton Law Firm LLP ensure that your claim doesn’t get lost in the quagmire of IRS whistleblower claims received by the IRS annually.
Contact Boston whistleblower lawyers to arrange a free consultation
Thornton Law Firm LLP provides quality legal representation to SEC whistleblower clients nationwide. We offer free consultations and work on a contingency-fee basis. You don’t pay if we don’t win your case. Call 1-888-491-9726 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. We’re here when you need us most.
Thornton Law Firm has introduced a unique program to maximize subrogation recoveries for health insurance plans. Our clients, including major national insurers and union health plans, are using our proactive approach to recovery in complex claims involving drug and medical device litigation.
The traditional approach to subrogation identifies lawsuits brought by patients and asserts the interests of the insurer in the lawsuit. Thornton Law Firm’s approach identifies patients with potential legal rights and asserts the subrogation interest of the insurer whether or not the patient has brought a claim. Our model results in an exponential increase in the identification and recovery of valid claims.
Thornton Law Firm LLP has 40 years of experience litigating cases in the complex litigation arena. We have fought in courtrooms and legislatures for consumers’ rights, helped to shape public policy holding manufacturers responsible for their products, and secured compensation for the victims of defectively manufactured and tested products. Our firm has pioneered litigation against the pharmaceutical and medical device industry for injuries caused by defective medications and medical devices, the lead industry on behalf of damaged children, against the silicon chip industry whose unsafe use of solvents resulted in birth defects, and against the tobacco industry for the cost of treating sick smokers. We also continue to fight for those affected by asbestos and other toxic substances.
Thornton Law Firm Insurance Subrogation Lawyers
Trust our Massachusetts insurance subrogation attorneys to help
Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm online or call 1-888-491-9726 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in insurance subrogation litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.
What are the SEC’s whistleblowing rules?
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) implemented updated whistleblowing rules in 2011 under Section 922 of the Dodd-Frank Act. The purpose of the rules is primarily to reward people who act early for exposing SEC violations and who provide significant evidence resulting in a monetary award to the SEC. People who expose violations are known as relators or whistleblowers.
SEC whistleblowers are eligible to receive up to 30 percent of the sanction money awarded to the SEC. Under current rules for receiving an award, a whistleblower must have voluntarily provided the information, and the information must have led to SEC sanctions exceeding $1 million. Informants are excluded from compensation if they were convicted of violating related U.S. laws. The purpose of this restriction is to avoid rewarding those who participated in the fraudulent activity.
Call 1-888-491-9726 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with a knowledgeable whistleblower litigation attorney from Thornton Law Firm, LLP.
Why does the government pay SEC whistleblowers?
Realtors with knowledge of possible securities law violations are the government’s primary means of uncovering fraudulent activity. Individuals are often privy to information the SEC could not otherwise easily obtain, and can uncover fraud much earlier than would otherwise be possible.
The SEC is at its core a law enforcement agency. Traditional law enforcement is reactive, meaning investigations into alleged fraud often do not begin until the fraudulent activity is complete and a victim raises a red flag. By giving whistleblowers an incentive to come forward early, the SEC has a chance to identify fraudulent schemes and protect would-be victims.
Why do I need a lawyer to make a SEC whistleblowing claim?
Stepping forward to make a whistleblower claim is a big deal and is likely to result in some blowback from your employer or other persons responsible for the fraudulent activity. The federal False Claims Act protects relators from retaliatory actions from employers. An experienced SEC whistleblowers’ attorney can help enforce protections available under the law and minimize any negative aspects of being a whistleblower.
When you contact our SEC whistleblowing attorneys, we take the following actions to protect you and your claim:
- Evaluating the information in your possession
- Conducting additional investigations to maximize your potential reward
- Determining which whistleblower law is most advantageous for you
- Preparing your claim properly and protecting your anonymity
- Enforcing rules prohibiting retaliation against you for stepping forward
Contact SEC whistleblower lawyers for a free consultation
Thornton Law Firm LLP in Massachusetts provides steadfast legal representation to SEC whistleblower clients nationwide. We offer free consultations and excellent client service. We also provide legal services on a contingency-fee basis. You don’t pay if we don’t win your case. Call 1-888-491-9726 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.
Whistleblowing rules encourage people to stop fraud
The term “whistleblower” refers to a person who brings fraudulent activity to the attention of those being defrauded or those with the authority to end the fraudulent activity and punish the wrongdoers. In the United States, whistleblowers laws exist to protect informants in many situations and often allow monetary rewards for information leading to the recovery of money by the government.
Deciding whether to shed light on fraudulent activity may seem like a no-brainer, but in real life, the decision may be complicated because people fear negative consequences. Having a trusted advocate on your side before you make the first step as a whistleblower can help alleviate your fear.
If you are aware of any fraudulent activity, do not waste another minute. Call 1-888-491-9726 or contact us online to speak with an attorney from Thornton Law Firm LLP. We can help you.
Situations where whistleblowing is needed
The variety of situations in which fraud can occur is virtually endless, and new scenarios are only limited by the imaginations of the wrongdoers. Most often, the fraudulent activity is a means to gain unearned profit or avoid liability. Below are examples of whistleblowers taking action to stop fraud:
- An employee reported an employer for violating environmental regulations.
- An accountant reported securities and accounting fraud to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- A taxpayer reported a business’s tax evasion to the Internal Revenue Service.
- A government employee reported suspected theft of property by a government vendor.
- A government vendor reported fraudulent statements by a federal employee seeking payment.
- A trucking company employee reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration an employer’s requirement that drivers exceed OSHA’s daily hours of service limits.
What federal laws protect me if I blow the whistle?
The following federal whistleblowing statutes have been enacted to protect fraud informants in a variety of circumstances:
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) – 29 U.S.C. § 623(d)
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – 42 U.S.C. § 12203(a); 29 C.F.R. Part 1639
- Civil Rights Act of 1964 – 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a) (“Title VII”)
- Clayton Act (antitrust) – 15 U.S.C. § 15(a)
- Clean Air Act – 42 U.S.C. § 7622; 29 C.F.R. Part 24
- Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“Super Fund”) – 42 U.S.C. § 9610; 29 C.F.R. Part 24
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) – 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a), 1139
- Energy Reorganization Act – 42 U.S.C. § 5851; 29 C.F.R. Part 24
- Equal Pay Act – 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)
- Fair Labor Standards Act (wage and hour, child labor, minimum wage, overtime) – 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3); 29 C.F.R. Part 783
- False Claims Act – 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h)
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – 29 U.S.C. § 2615
- National Labor Relations Act – 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(4)
- Occupational Safety and Health Act – 29 U.S.C. § 660(c); 29 C.F.R. Part 1977 (Part 11(c))
- Safe Drinking Water Act – 42 U.S.C. § 300j-9
- Sarbanes Oxley Act – 18 U.S.C. § 1514A
- Solid Waste Disposal Act – 42 U.S.C. § 6971; 29 C.F.R. Part 24
- Toxic Substances Control Act – 15 U.S.C. § 2622; 29 C.F.R. Part 24
Call the federal whistleblower attorneys at Thornton Law Firm LLP to arrange a free consultation
Located in Boston, Mass., our attorneys provide excellent legal representation and personalized attention to whistleblowers nationwide. Our legal services are provided on a contingency-fee basis, so if we don’t win your case, you don’t pay. Call 1-888-491-9726 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. Thornton Law Firm LLP is here when you need us most.