popular action

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Popular action, also called a qui tam action, is where a plaintiff brings a lawsuit on behalf of the government.

In State ex rel. Leibowitz v. Family Vision Care, LLC, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Second Division noted that private parties bring claims in qui tam actions to assist the executive branch in enforcing the law, as the violation of the law in question affects the interest of the government. The government is the one that has suffered damages. The court compared qui tam plaintiffs, who are also called relators, to private attorneys general who act in the interest of the state. Additionally, in Stalley v. Methodist Healthcare, the United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit observed that the right to bring a qui tam action is only created by statute.

[Last updated in February of 2024 by the Wex Definitions Team]