On March 19, 2019, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Cochise Consultancy Inc. v. United States, ex rel. Hunt regarding how the False Claims Act’s (FCA) statute of limitations applies in qui tam actions brought by a private relator in which the government declined to intervene. The Court heard lively arguments regarding a statute that has undoubtedly confused many. After oral argument, the Court appears poised to conclude that relators may appropriately take advantage of a longer limitations period.
FCA Statute of Limitations Raises Questions Regarding How and When It Should be Tolled
The FCA’s statute of limitations provision, 31 U.S.C. § 3731(b), states that a civil action may not be brought under the FCA:
- more than six years after the date on which the violation of section 3729 is committed, or
- more than three years after the date when facts material to the right of action are known or should have been known by the official of the United States charged with responsibility to act in the circumstances, but in no event more than 10 years after the date on which the violation is committed, whichever occurs last.