Qui tam relators cannot prosecute False Claims Act cases pro se after the United States declines to intervene, says the District Court in Nebraska in dismissing the relator’s FCA claim. See Malone v. Omaha Housing Authority, Case No. 4:09CV3208, 2011 WL 1435257 (D. Neb. April 14, 2011). The court held that the FCA is silent on the issue, but the law is well-established in the Eighth Circuit. As the Eighth Circuit explained in United States v. Onan, 190 F.2d 1, 6-7 (8th Cir. 1951):
[W]e do not think that Congress could have intended to authorize a layman to carry on such suit as attorney for the United States but must have had in mind that such a suit would be carried on in accordance with the established procedure which requires that only one licensed to practice law may conduct proceedings in court for anyone other than himself…it is unthinkable that Congress by this Act intended to license laymen to practice law. The practice of law is affected with a public interest and an attorney at law as distinguished from a layman, has both public and private obligations, being sworn to act with all good fidelity toward both his client and the court.
The Eighth Circuit is in agreement with the Second, Seventh, Ninth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits. See Jones v. Jindal, No. 10-7124, 2011 WL 588062, at *1 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 10, 2011); Meidinger v. Healthcare Indus. Oligopoly, 391 F. App’x 777, 780 (11th Cir. 2010); United States ex rel. Mergent Servs. v. Flaherty, 540 F.3d 89, 93-94 (2d Cir. 2008); Timson v. Sampson, 518 F.3d 870, 873-74 (11th Cir. 2008); Stoner v. Santa Clara County Office of Educ., 502 F.3d 1116, 1126-28 (9th Cir. 2007); United States ex rel. Lu v. Ou, 368 F.3d 773, 775-76 (7th Cir. 2005), overruled on other grounds, 129 S.Ct. 2230 (2009).