South Carolina does not have a state False Claims Act. However, those who witness fraud, waste or abuse affecting either the state or federal government can file a whistleblower lawsuit under the qui tam provisions of the federal False Claims Act. Whistleblower provisions in the False Claims Act also protect relators from workplace retaliation resulting from their report. Contact us to learn more about your rights as a whistleblower.
South Carolina Whistleblower News
- South Carolina Teacher Files Whistleblower Retaliation Complaint Against Charleston School District
June 22, 2015 – A Charleston, S.C., high school teacher is suing the Charleston County School District under the state’s whistleblower retaliation protection law alleging she was wrongfully reprimanded and held back from new employment opportunities in retaliation for reporting her concerns the school was facilitating graduation for failing students. Valerie Paquette, a computer and business teacher at North Charleston High, filed the lawsuit May 27 in the Court of Common Pleas, claiming that school administrators retaliated after she went to the superintendent with concerns about questionable advantages the school gave some failing seniors, allowing them to graduate.
- Settlement reached in whistleblower case against military freight shipper
March 6, 2015 – A federal judge in South Carolina has approved a settlement in the False Claims Act lawsuit filed by the U.S. government and two whistleblowers against Covan World-Wide Moving Services Inc., and its affiliate, Coleman American Moving Services Inc. The lawsuit, which alleged that Covan and Coleman engaged in fraudulent billing practices, was scheduled to go to trial on March 9. The terms of the settlement, reached on Monday, March 2, have not been made public. The whistleblowers, a father and son, who worked in Coleman’s Augusta, Ga., warehouse, allege that they were instructed to “get weights up.” Warehouse manager Mario Figueroa and his son, warehouse assistant Elmer Figueroa, claim they were ordered to falsify weight certificates in a scheme to overbill the U.S. Armed Forces for the shipping costs associated with deploying U.S. service personnel at home and abroad.
- Charleston TSA worker’s firing blocked over whistle-blower incident
December 17, 2014 – A federal agency has blocked the firing of a Transportation Security Administration dog handler at Charleston International Airport over a whistle-blower incident. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel on Tuesday obtained an order from the Merit Systems Protection Board to stop the removal of Kimberly Barnett for 45 days while OSC investigates her claim of being fired for alleging her supervisor violated agency safety rules and inaccurately recorded the time he worked. Barnett said she was told by a TSA management official she was not “being a team player” and was throwing her supervisor “under the bus,” according to a statement from the Office of Special Counsel.
- Judge Allows Whistleblower Case Against Global Trucking Firm To Proceed
February 28, 2014 – COLUMBIA, S.C. — A U.S. District Judge in South Carolina said Tuesday a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act against a global trucking firm may proceed to trial. The lawsuit seeks millions of dollars from Covan Worldwide Moving, a Midland City, Ala.-based company that ships the household belongings of military and civilian personnel around the world. In a Tuesday hearing, Judge Joe Anderson dismissed part of the lawsuit that accuses Covan of engaging “in an intracorporate conspiracy” to defraud the U.S. government, citing insufficient evidence that the company conspired with other businesses to carry out its scheme on a broad scale. Five additional counts, however, have been allowed to stand based on allegations in the lawsuit that Covan partnered with Coleman-American Moving Services to “systematically falsify weight certificates, shipping records and invoices by increasing shipment weights.” This fraud scheme amounted to the submission of false claims to U.S. agencies for reimbursement, the lawsuit asserts.