False Claims Act Statute of Limitations

The Department of Justice filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on February 8, 2019 endorsing a longer statute of limitations for qui tam cases.

The False Claims Act Case

The qui tam case filed by a whistleblower manager named Billy Joe Hunt accusing Parsons Corp. and Cochise Consultancy Inc. of defrauding the U.S. Department of Defense in connection with a munitions cleanup contract. Hunt filed suit in late 2013 alleging fraud that ceased in early 2007, placing him outside the FCA’s usual six-year limitations window.

The FCA Statute of Limitations: The Issue

The FCA, generally speaking, has a six-year statute of limitations. However, as experienced qui tam attorneys know, the FCA contains an exception for when the government didn’t learn of fraud until later, allowing suits to be filed as much as 10 years after wrongdoing occurred. At issue is whether that exception applies to suits in which the DOJ declined to intervene, as happened in Hunt’s case.

The DOJ FCA Argument

In its brief, the DOJ said there’s no reason to think that the intent of the exception — punishing fraud that’s hard to detect — shouldn’t apply to cases that whistleblowers handle without government help.

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