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In 1861, Congress first passed the False Claims Act (FCA), making it a crime to

In 1861, Congress first passed the False Claims Act (FCA), making it a crime to
Paper instructions:
In 1861, Congress first passed the False Claims Act (FCA), making it a crime to
procure or use federal funds fraudulently. Over the years, Congress has amended
the Act numerous times, expanding both the class of defendants who can be sued
and the class of plaintiffs who can file suit. Since 1986, the FCA has
authorized “any person” aware of fraud committed against the government to file
suit on behalf of the United States. Funds won in such suits are payable to the
federal treasury, with costs of the suit, along with a small bounty, paid to
the named plaintiff. Most recently, in 2005, Congress amended the FCA to make
two changes. First, it made states proper defendants under the Act. Second,
Congress declared that any plaintiff, suing on behalf of the United States,
“stands in the shoes” of the federal government, for purposes of determining standing.1

 

In 2006, Miles Donnell became aware that his employer, the State of West
Carolina, had fraudulently spent government money. Specifically, the State
filed false reports to the Department of Homeland Security in connection with
several federal grant programs dealing with security of infrastructure in the
state. He filed suit in the federal District Court for West Carolina. The state
responded and made two claims. First, it challenged Mr. Donnell’s standing,
claiming he failed to meet the Court’s test. Second, the state argued, it was
immune from suit under the 11th Amendment. The state points out that it has
never consented to be sued under the False Claims Act. They further argue that
since the Act was initially passed in 1861, seven years before the ratification
of the 14th Amendment, Congress could only have been legislating pursuant to
its power under the Commerce Clause in Article I, Section 8. The District Court
ruled in favor of Mr. Donnell. The State appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court
of Appeals.

 

You are a court clerk in the Fourth Circuit. Your boss is one of three judges
hearing the case. She has asked that you prepare a memo answering the following
questions:

 

a) Did the plaintiff, Mr. Donnell, have standing?

 

b) Was the State of West Carolina protected by the Eleventh Amendment?

 

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