According to USA TODAY, UPS reached a $4.2 million settlement for overcharging 14 states and three local entities by falsely recording that next-day delivery packages reached their destinations on time. The lawsuit alleges that certain UPS employees recorded inaccurate delivery times on packages sent by government customers through next-day delivery services, resulting in premium-priced packages that appeared to have been transported by their guaranteed commitment times when they had not been timely delivered. The law suit also alleged that certain UPS employees applied inapplicable or inappropriate exception codes to excuse late next-day packages, including claims of weather emergencies despite sunny conditions. As a result, the government customers were unable to claim or receive refunds for the late deliveries under the terms of their contracts.
Out of the $4 million dollar multistate settlement, Florida and local governments in the state, including cities, counties and school districts, are recovering more than $375,000 as compensation for these overages. In addition, UPS has instituted corrective training, monitoring and reporting compliance programs to address any potential delivery failures or policy violations.
Other states included in the settlement are California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, the Commonwealths of Massachusetts and Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the cities of New York and Chicago .
The suit was instituted by a whistleblower in a qui tam lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The case was brought up by former employee Robert Fulk, who was represented by the Washington DC-based legal firm Wu, Grohovsky & Whipple (WGW). And now after the settlement, Fulk will receive a portion of the recovery .
“UPS improperly profited from charging New York state government entities [along with 13 others]—and ultimately our taxpayers – when its employees failed to meet its guaranteed delivery times for overnight deliveries,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office led the multi-jurisdiction group that investigated the delivery allegations .
Florida False Claims Act
While Qui Tam as it exists in the U.S. was originally passed to help reduce fraudulent completion of military contracts, its modern form allows individuals to bring allegations of any type of fraud against the government. Indeed, there are even state equivalents, like Fla. Stat. 68.081, the Florida False Claims Act, which allow Qui Tam actions to be brought for allegations of defrauding the state.
In State cases, as in Federal Qui Tam cases, individuals reporting fraud must have original knowledge of the fraud. This means that the reporter must have first-hand knowledge of the fraud and that this fraud is not public knowledge. This arrangement ensures that the government is not being informed of a Qui Tam action when one has already been commenced and that the claim is not just gossip. Due to the complicated evidentiary requirements of Qui Tam actions, and the fact that all filings in these cases are sealed, it can be prohibitively difficult to pursue these claims, which is why hiring an attorney is so vital.
Dolman Law Group
The Dolman Law Group will provide you the legal guidance that you need when proceeding with these actions. Oftentimes, whistleblowers bringing qui tam actions fear retribution from the massive corporations they accuse of defrauding the government. With the enormous amounts of money at stake in these actions, people often overreact and behave irrationally, or even dangerously. These people and corporations sometimes make reprisals, which have been known to range from job loss, to social exclusion, and have even become violent. In order to protect yourself when doing what’s right and reporting fraud against the government, it is vitally important that you have aggressive and zealous local attorneys that know the area, and more importantly, know you. Attorneys like the experienced litigators at the Dolman Law Group, will zealously advocate for you and will work to ensure that you are not harmed in any way for doing your duty to your country or state, by reporting people defrauding the taxpayers. Call us at (727) 451-6900 today for a free consultation and evaluation.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765