Sheriff immune from False Claims Act suit, E.D.Va. judge holds

by Ben Vernia | December 14th, 2011

On December 9, in Myers v. Simpson, Eastern District of Virginia Judge Leonie M. Brinkema dismissed the False Claims Act allegations (along with the rest of the complaint) of a pro se whistleblower who complained that the Loudon County, Virginia sheriff had falsely certified in federal grant applications that his office employed non-discriminatory policies. The relator, a man, complained that he was turned away on the basis of his gender when he attempted to attend self-defense workshops for women held at a law enforcement training center.

In a brief opinion on the FCA issues, Judge Brinkema held that as a state constitutional officer, the sheriff was entitled to the state’s immunity from claims brought under the federal FCA. (In addition, she noted in a footnote that the relator had failed to file his complaint in camera, that the relator could not proceed in an FCA claim pro se, and that his complaint failed to satisfy the particularity requirement of Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b).)

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