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Unrepresented whistleblower cannot maintain qui tam suit

A whistleblower who alleged that over $100 million in federal funds were improperly used to support a container terminal at the Port of Los Angeles cannot proceed with his suit.

Stanley Mosley filed his suit under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows private citizens who discover fraud against the government to file suit on the government’s behalf. Mosler, who is not a lawyer but an accountant, has represented himself since February 2005, when his lawyer withdrew from the case. The U.S. Dept of Justice and the California attorney general both declined to join the suit.

District Court Judge S. James Otero ruled that Mosler could not pursue the suit without a lawyer, saying the False Claims Act does not allow a lay person to represent the United States.

Other courts, including the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, in United States ex rel. Schwartz v. TRW Inc., 118 F. Supp. 2d 991, have also held that a pro per litigant could not represent the United States in a False Claims Act suit.

The Daily Breeze reported on the dismissal on August 16, 2006.

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