6.03 – Supreme Court Procedures
1. Name the case and the docket number.
Rockwell International, Corp., et al. v. U.S., docket #05-1272.
2. Summarize the issues in the case.
In 1989 James Stone sued his former employers, Rockwell International, for selling the
government fraudulent cement blocks filled with nuclear waste. Under the False Claims
Act, which provides a “qui tam” provision, private citizens, whether affiliated with the
government or not, are allowed to sue for the government in such fraud cases, and be paid
a percentage of the recovery (typically 15-25 percent). The courts determined that the
transaction was indeed fraudulent, and Stone was initially awarded $1.4 million of
recovery damages. Later, in 1999, the district court entered the amount at nearly $4.2
million, or triple the amount. What’s now in question under the Supreme Court, after
being appealed repeatedly, is whether Stone was an “original” source of information as
defined by the act, or simply a “bounty hunter,” and whether he is entitled to his share of
3. Why does this case interest you?
I want to study business in college, so naturally big company fraud cases interest me.
4. If you were on the court, how would you decide this case?
I would award Stone the money. The companies would have to pay the government
damages anyway, so they must have an ulterior motive to be trying to prevent Stone from
getting his share. Besides, several investigations were made, and they generally conclude
that Stone’s “whistleblowing” isn’t parasitic – he actually wrote reports, prior to the
contract, stating that the nuclear waste within the bricks would eventually spill out.
Additionally, granting Stone the money would encourage behaviors similar to his,
reducing further fraud in the future.
Response to Andrew MacInnes: