By Dmitrii Gabrielov and Jonathan Feldman
An Indiana federal court remanded a lawsuit brought under the Indiana False Claims and Whistleblower Protection Act (False Claims Act) back to Indiana state court. The relator, Michael Harmeyer, alleges that Kroger and affiliates violated the False Claims Act by failing to collect sales tax on various items at grocery stores in Indiana. Kroger tried to remove the case to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, arguing that Indiana was not a party because Indiana’s Attorney General and Inspector General declined to intervene in the case. The court disagreed and held that Indiana is the real party in interest even if it does not intervene because the action is brought “on behalf of the State.” Indiana’s presence in the litigation destroyed diversity jurisdiction because Indiana is not a citizen of any state. Indiana ex rel. Harmeyer v. Kroger Co., No. 1:17-cv-00538-JMS-DML (S.D. Ind. June 13, 2017).