United States of America et al v. General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc et al

Filing 4

ORDER: (1) Requiring Plaintiff to Show Cause Why Count 1 Should Not be Dismissed; and (2) Unsealing Action( Order to Show Cause Brief due by 11/3/2021), Order to Unseal Case. Signed by Judge Cynthia Bashant on 10/20/2021.(All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(anh)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ex rel., ERIK LECKNER 14 ORDER: Plaintiffs, 13 (1) REQUIRING PLAINTIFF TO SHOW CAUSE WHY COUNT 1 SHOULD NOT BE DISMISSED; AND v. 16 GENERAL DYNAMICS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND APEX SYSTEMS, LLC, 17 Defendants. 15 Case No. 21-cv-1109-BAS-BLM (2) UNSEALING ACTION 18 19 20 21 Plaintiff seeks to prosecute a False Claims Act (“FCA”) qui tam claim on behalf of 22 the United States as a part of his action.1 (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 118–120, ECF No. 2.) The 23 United States declined to intervene, pursuant to the FCA, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(4)(B). (ECF 24 No. 3.) Where, as here, the United States declines to intervene, the person who initiated 25 26 27 28 1   Plaintiff also raises a cause of action for retaliation in violation of the FCA, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h). (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 121–22.) “There is no question that if Plaintiff has properly pleaded a claim for retaliation, []he is permitted to do so irrespective of the fate of h[is] FCA qui tam claim.” Hayes v. Dep’t of Educ. of City of New York, 20 F. Supp. 3d 438, 443 (S.D.N.Y. 2014) -121cv1109 1 the action has the right to conduct the action. Id. § 3730(c)(3). However, a person not 2 represented by counsel cannot prosecute the qui tam claim on behalf of the United States. 3 See Stoner v. Santa Clara Cnty. Off. of Educ., 502 F.3d 1116, 1126–27 (9th Cir. 2007) 4 (declining to interpret the general pro se provision, 28 U.S.C. § 1654 as allowing qui tam 5 relators to proceed without the representation of counsel because “qui tam relators are 6 . . . also representing the United States” and holding that “[t]he FCA itself does not 7 authorize a relator to prosecute a § 3729 violation pro se”). 8 unrepresented by counsel, his FCA qui tam claim (“Count 1”) fails as a matter of law. An 9 amendment of the pleading cannot cure this defect. Because Plaintiff is 10 Accordingly, the Court ORDERS Plaintiff to show cause, on or before November 11 3, 2021, why Count 1 should not be dismissed without leave to amend, but without 12 prejudice to future refiling by a licensed attorney. 13 The Court also ORDERS that: 14 1. The Complaint, the Amended Complaint, the United States’ Notice of 15 16 17 Declination, and this Order be unsealed; 2. The seal be lifted as to all other matters occurring in this action after the date of this Order; 18 3. The parties shall serve all pleadings and motions filed in this action, including 19 supporting memoranda, upon the United States, as provided for in 31 U.S.C. 20 § 3730(c)(3); and 21 4. All orders of this Court shall be sent to the United States. 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. 23 24 DATED: October 20, 2021 25 26 27 28 -221cv1109

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