CIVIL FALSE CLAIMS ACT: Supreme Court Rules That Extended 10-year FCA Limitations Provision Applies to <em>Qui Tam</em> Relators in Nonintervened Cases, Leaves Other Questions Unanswered

CIVIL FALSE CLAIMS ACT: Supreme Court Rules That Extended 10-year FCA Limitations Provision Applies to Qui Tam Relators in Nonintervened Cases, Leaves Other Questions Unanswered


By: Douglas W. Baruch, John T. Boese, Jennifer M. Wollenberg, Kayla Stachniak Kaplan

In a unanimous decision in Cochise Consultancy, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Hunt, No. 18-315 (U.S. May 13, 2019), the Supreme Court resolved two questions regarding the application of the False Claims Act's statute of limitations to qui tam suits in which the government declines to intervene.  First, the Court held that qui tam relators can take advantage of the extended limitations period in § 3731(b)(2) whether or not the government intervenes in their suits.  Second, the Court ruled that, for purposes of § 3731(b)(2), a relator is not the “official of the United States charged with responsibility to act in the circumstances.”  However, the Court chose to avoid deciding whether “the official” must be the Attorney General or his designee—as the government urged—and the Court did not mention, let alone decide, the open question of whether the qui tam enforcement mechanism itself runs afoul of the Appointments Clause in Article II.bsp;

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