Seventh Circuit Review


The False Claims Act has evolved into one of the U.S. Government’s most successful tools to recover from those who defraud it. The Act’s efficacy is greatly bolstered by its qui tam provision which allows private citizens, called relators, to file complaints against fraudulent actors on behalf of the Government. The relators effectively put the government on notice of fraud committed against it in return for a share of the recovery if the action is successful. While effective, this provision has led to disputes between the government and the relator when the government seeks to dismiss an action a relator is actively pursuing. The circuits have split on the proper way to balance the interests of the government and the relators, and in its recent decision, the Seventh Circuit improperly placed a greater importance on the relator of an action than the true injured party, the government. Rather than adopting a rule that allows for relators to challenge the government’s decisions on substance, the court should have instead only allowed for challenges to the procedure involved in reaching its decision to dismiss. Such a rule would guarantee that the government retains privacy in its litigation decisions, while also allowing a relator to ensure proper due diligence was given to the action prior to dismissal.