Dead Men Telling Tales - A Policy-Based Proposal for Survivability of Qui Tam Actions under the Civil False Claims Act


The civil False Claims Act is a powerful tool used by both the federal government and private citizens, under the statutes "qui tam" or "whistleblower" provisions, to fight fraud against the government. Use of the statute has continually risen in recent years, and recoveries under the statute are in the billions of dollars. The unique relationship between a private citizen whistleblower and the government who both have an interest in the case raises many interesting procedural and substantive issues of federal law. This article proposes an answer to one of these questions. The article proposes that a whistleblower suit survives the death of a whistleblower, regardless of whether the statute is considered penal or remedial. Survivability of a whistleblower suit furthers the will of Congress, which was to compensate the government for fraud, punish fraud against the government, and deter future fraudulent schemes. The article proposes that our legal system has adequate safeguards to ensure that defendants will not be severely prejudiced by their inability to take discovery of the whistleblower in such a circumstance.


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Date of this Version

August 2004