Partially Intervened Qui Tam Cases Cannot Have Two Masters: Court Bars Relators From Proceeding With Their Non-Intervened Claims

The case U.S. ex rel. Wride v. Stevens-Henager College, Inc. addresses whether a qui tam case in which the government has partially intervened can have “two masters” – the government and the relator, each controlling their own sphere of the litigation – or just one.

The District Court’s answer in this case is that only the government can conduct the litigation in a partially intervened qui tam. It specifically found that the False Claims Act provides that the government alone has the “primary responsibility for conducting the action” and the relators do not have the right to “amend his or her complaint to add defendants and claims to the government’s action.”

In Wride, two relators had filed a qui tam suit against a pair of schools, and the government intervened in some of their claims. The relators then sought to amend their complaints, adding new defendants and claims. The court ruled that “the plain language” of the FCA did not permit this.

More at False Claims Act Law Blog