No Pro Se Relators in False Claims Act Cases
If you want to bring a Qui Tam action as a Relator under the Federal False Claims Act in South Carolina, you have to have a lawyer help you file and litigate your case.
If you are looking to file a False Claims Act case as a Relator, don’t fall into the trap of trying to file the case as a pro se litigant, especially in the District of South Carolina and any other District that falls under the jurisdiction of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. It’s just not allowed. See United States ex rel. Brooks v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 237 F. App’x 802 (4th Cir. 2007). The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has continued to hold that the law requires that relators be represented in False Claims Act cases. Wojcicki v. SCANA/SCE&G, 947 F.3d 240 (4th Cir. 2020).
It’s not just the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that feels this way. The prohibition against pro se Relators exists in other Federal Circuits. Here is a handy way to see the relevant cases for some of the Federal Circuits that forbid unrepresented Relators from filing a False Claims Act case against the Federal Government:
- Second Circuit Court of Appeals: United States ex rel. Mergent Servs. v. Flaherty, 540 F.3d 89 (2d Cir. 2008)
- Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals: United States ex rel. Lu v. Ou, 368 F.3d 773, 774 (7th Cir. 2004)
- Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals: United States v. Onan, 190 F.2d 1 (8th Cir. 1951). Of note, is that there is a District Court Opinion from a District Court within the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that would indicate that it may be allowable for a Relator who is an Attorney to proceed pro se but that theory does not appear to have been addressed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and the general prohibition still controls: United States ex rel. Hixson v. Health Mgmt. Sys., 657 F. Supp. 2d 1039 (S.D. Iowa 2009).
- Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: Stoner v. Santa Clara Cty. Office of Educ., 502 F.3d 1116 (9th Cir. 2007).
- Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals: Timson v. Sampson, 518 F.3d 870 (11th Cir. 2008).
So what do you need to do if you want to file a False Claims Act case where you know of false claims for payment having been made and paid? The answer is that you need to talk to an Attorney who knows how to handle these kinds of qui tam cases. See if your potential whistleblower case is something that you want to pursue and if a lawyer thinks your case has merit.
Saluda Law, LLC handles whistleblower cases, including False Claims Act Cases. Whether or not you are alleging healthcare fraud, government contracting fraud, or some other kind of fraud against the Federal government, call Saluda Law for a consultation. As a Relator, you may end up receiving a portion of the Settlement or Judgment in the case. Find the right Attorney for you to figure out if you want to pursue a qui tam action under the Federal False Claims Act.
Content last updated on July 7, 2021. Any information posted about the firm’s cases is intended only to be representative of the firm’s practice. These examples are not intended to, and cannot be relied upon, to predict the results in any other case. Information or interaction on this page should not be construed as establishing a client-attorney relationship or as legal advice. For advice about your specific situation, please contact Saluda Law, LLC. The Statements contained within this page have been reviewed and approved by Mr. VanSyckel.
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