United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
BENJAMIN W. CHEESBRO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Complaint
and Motions for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis.
Docs. 1, 2, 4. For the following reasons, I
DENY Plaintiff's Motions. I also
RECOMMEND the Court DISMISS
Plaintiff's Complaint, doc. 1, for failure to state a
claim, DIRECT the Clerk of Court to
CLOSE this case and enter the appropriate
judgment of dismissal, and DENY Plaintiff
leave to appeal in forma pauperis.
proceeding pro se and incarcerated at the D. Ray James
Correctional Facility in Folkston, Georgia, brings this cause
of action under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§
3729, 3730, et seq. Doc. 1. Plaintiff seeks to bring
this cause of action on behalf of the United States of
America as a qui tam suit and asks to be permitted to proceed
without prepayment of the requisite filing fee. Id.;
Docs. 2, 4. According to Plaintiff, Defendant The GEO Group
knowingly presented or caused to be presented false or
fraudulent claims for payment or approval for the United
States government and knowingly made, used, or caused to be
made or used false records or statements material to false or
fraudulent claims. Doc. 1 at 1. Plaintiff asserts Defendant
The GEO Group conspired with others to provide General
Equivalency Diplomas (“GED”) to inmates who
already have high school diplomas or post-secondary
qualifications. Id. at 2-4. Plaintiff seeks an
injunction and monetary damages under the False Claims Act.
Id. at 4.
Whether Plaintiff Can Proceed with His Claims
noted above, Plaintiff is incarcerated and is attempting to
bring a pro se qui tam suit on behalf of the United States of
America under the False Claims Act (“FCA”).
“The FCA permits a private individual, called a qui tam
‘relator,' to file a civil action against, and
recover damages on behalf of the United States from, any
(1) knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, to an
officer or employee of the United States Government . . . a
false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;
(2) knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a
false record or statement to get a false or fraudulent claim
paid or approved by the Government.
Timson v. Sampson, 518 F.3d 870, 872-73 (11th Cir.
2008) (quoting 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729(a)(1)- (2),
3730(b)(1), (c)(3)). Section 3730(b)(1) of the FCA provides
that actions brought by private individuals “shall be
brought in the name of the Government.” Id. at
873. “‘The United States is the real party in
interest in a qui tam action under the False Claims Act even
if it is not controlling the litigation.'”
Id. (quoting United States ex rel. Walker v.
R&F Properties of Lack Cty., Inc., 433 F.3d 1349,
1359 (11th Cir. 2005)). “‘The purpose of the Act
. . . is to encourage private individuals who are aware of
fraud being perpetrated against the government to bring such
information forward.'” Id. (quoting
Ragsdale v. Rubbermaid, Inc., 193 F.3d 1235, 1237
n.1 (11th Cir. 1999)). However, the FCA does not allow for
the bringing of pro se qui tam suits. Id. at 873-74
(finding no error in the district court's dismissal of a
pro se qui tam suit under the FCA). In addition, a pro se
prisoner has no ability to litigate on behalf of others.
Fairfax v. Wood, No. 4:16cv526, 2016 WL 6542873, at
*1 (N.D. Fla. Sept. 27, 2016) (citing Timson, 518
F.3d at 873)). Accordingly, I RECOMMEND the
Court DISMISS Plaintiff's Complaint
based on his failure to state a qui tam claim on behalf of
the United States. I DENY Plaintiff's
Motions for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis.
Docs. 2, 4.
Leave to Appeal in Forma Pauperis
Court should also deny Plaintiff leave to appeal in forma
pauperis. Though Plaintiff has not yet filed a notice of
appeal, it would be appropriate to address that issue in the
Court's order of dismissal. See Fed. R. App. P.
24(a)(3) (trial court may certify that appeal is not taken in
good faith “before or after the notice of appeal is
appeal cannot be taken in forma pauperis if the
trial court certifies, either before or after the notice of
appeal is filed, that the appeal is not taken in good faith.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3); Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(3). Good
faith in this context must be judged by an objective
standard. Busch v. County of Volusia, 189 F.R.D.
687, 691 (M.D. Fla. 1999). A party does not proceed in good
faith when he seeks to advance a frivolous claim or argument.
See Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 445
(1962). A claim or argument is frivolous when it appears the
factual allegations are clearly baseless or the legal
theories are indisputably meritless. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989); Carroll v.
Gross, 984 F.2d 392, 393 (11th Cir. 1993). An in
forma pauperis action is frivolous and not brought in
good faith if it is “without arguable merit either in
law or fact.” Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d
528, 531 (11th Cir. 2002); see also Brown v. United
States, Nos. 407CV085, 403CR001, 2009 WL 307872, at *1-2
(S.D. Ga. Feb. 9, 2009).
on the above analysis of Plaintiff's filings, there are
no non-frivolous issues to raise on appeal, and an appeal
would not be taken in good faith. Thus, the Court should