District Court in Nashville dismisses pro se qui tam

by Ben Vernia | October 19th, 2010

In an unsurprising decision on October 15 in Maliani v. Vanderbilt Univ., District Judge William Haynes of the Middle District of Tennessee dismissed False Claims Act allegations brought pro se by the next of kin of a deceased man against Vanderbilt University Hospital, and associated physicians and nurses. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants billed Medicare and Medicaid for services which were never provided to the decedent.

Along with malpractice claims, Judge Haynes dismissed the FCA count, agreeing with the Seventh Circuit, which stated in U.S. ex rel. Szymczak v. Covenant Healthcare Sys., 207 Fed. Appx. 731, 732 (7th Cir. 2006): ““a qui tam relator–even one with a personal bone to pick with the defendant–sues on behalf of the government and not himself. He therefore must comply with the general rule prohibiting nonlawyers from representing other litigants.”

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