State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_1 > GS_1-610

§ 1‑610.  Award to quitam plaintiff.

(a)        Except as otherwiseprovided in this section, if the State proceeds with an action brought by a quitam plaintiff under G.S. 1‑608(b), the qui tam plaintiff shall receive atleast fifteen percent (15%) but not more than twenty‑five percent (25%)of the proceeds of the action or settlement of the claim, depending upon theextent to which the qui tam plaintiff substantially contributed to theprosecution of the action.

(b)        Where the action isone which the court finds to be based primarily on disclosures of specificinformation, other than information provided by the qui tam plaintiff, relatingto allegations or transactions (i) in a criminal, civil, or administrativehearing at the State or federal level, (ii) in a congressional, legislative,administrative, General Accounting Office, or State Auditor's report, hearing,audit, or investigation, or (iii) from the news media, the court may award suchsums as it considers appropriate, but in no case more than ten percent (10%) ofthe proceeds, taking into account the significance of the information and therole of the qui tam plaintiff in advancing the case to litigation.

(c)        Any payment to aqui tam plaintiff under subsection (a) or (b) of this section shall be madefrom the proceeds.

(d)        The qui tamplaintiff also shall receive an amount for reasonable expenses that the courtfinds to have been necessarily incurred, plus reasonable attorneys' fees andcosts. All such expenses, fees, and costs shall be awarded against the defendant.

(e)        If the State doesnot proceed with an action under this Article, the qui tam plaintiff shallreceive an amount which the court decides is reasonable for collecting thecivil penalty and damages. The amount shall not be less than twenty‑five percent(25%) and not more than thirty percent (30%) of the proceeds of the action orsettlement and shall be paid out of the proceeds. The qui tam plaintiff alsoshall receive an amount for reasonable expenses that the court finds to havebeen necessarily incurred, plus reasonable attorneys' fees and costs. All suchexpenses, fees, and costs shall be awarded against the defendant.

(f)         Whether or not theState proceeds with the action, if the court finds that the qui tam plaintiffplanned and initiated the violation of G.S. 1‑607 upon which the actionwas brought, then the court may, to the extent the court considers appropriate,reduce the share of the proceeds of the action which the qui tam plaintiffwould otherwise receive under subsection (a), (b), or (e) of this section,taking into account the role of the qui tam plaintiff in advancing the case tolitigation and any relevant circumstances pertaining to the violation. If thequi tam plaintiff is convicted of criminal conduct arising from his or her rolein the violation of G.S. 1‑607, the qui tam plaintiff shall be dismissedfrom the civil action and shall not receive any share of the proceeds of theaction. Such a dismissal shall not prejudice the right of the State to continuethe action.

(g)        If the State doesnot proceed with the action and the qui tam plaintiff conducts the action, thecourt may award to the defendant its reasonable attorneys' fees and expenses ifthe defendant prevails in the action and the court finds that the claim of thequi tam plaintiff was clearly frivolous, clearly vexatious, or broughtprimarily for purposes of harassment.  (2009‑554, s. 1.)