False Claims Act Statute of Limitations 18 USC 3731Understanding the applicable federal False Claims Act statute of limitations can often get the case dismissed if not adhered to by the government. As for any case, facts drive the outcome of any limitations dispute. 

The is regulation puts the burden of the federal government to act. Common examples related to whistleblower protection where the government is alleging that a contractor violated the False Claims Act include submitting invoices for payment or submitting a traditional claim against the government.

When it comes federal whistleblowers law, Courts look for evidence that supports any of the below legal requirements.

The statute of limitations for a False Claims or qui tam action is found in 18 USC 3731(b) of the United States Code.

“A civil action under section 3730 may not be brought—

(1) more than 6 years after the date on which the violation of section 3729 is committed, or

(2) more than 3 years after the date when facts material to the right of action are known or reasonably 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.”

Keep in mind that under federal whistleblower law, government contracting agencies often seek to hold prime contractors liable for the acts of their subcontractors. This can be a tough pill to swallow. Nevertheless, case law supports this fact.

Under Section 3731(b)(1), an FCA action must be brought within six years after the date the defendant committed the violation. This limitations period assumes that the qui tam whistleblower or the federal government has actual knowledge of the violation. A common problem for criminal defense attorneys is figuring out the proper date on which the false claims violation was committed.

Most federal courts  may consider the statute of limitations dates by looking at the actual dates that the claim is submitted to at the date of submission of the claim is the trigger date for the six-year statute of limitations. In other situations, the statute of limitations may be the date that the government pays the claim. Defense lawyers should see what their specific court decides.

Whistleblower Protection for Companies

It only takes one innocent situation to bring your company under intense scrutiny for violation of federal whistleblower law. Always consult a Federal False Claims Act lawyer to make sure that rules have not changed and that you as a company has ample whistleblower protection under the laws in your favor.

The U.S. Supreme Court addressed two important questions under the Federal False Claims Act 31 USC 3729. It decided that that (1) the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA), 18 USC 3287, applies only to criminal cases, and (2) the FCA’s first-to-file bar, 31 USC 3730(b)(5), ceases to apply once the earlier-filed action that might have created the bar has been dismissed.

Other court decisions: In United States ex rel. Sansbury v. LB&B Associates, Inc., No. 07-251 (D.D.C. July 16, 2014) the court decided that a civil action under section 3730 may not be brought– (1) more than six years after the date on which the violation of section 3729 is committed, or (2) more than three years after the date when facts material to the right of action are known or reasonably 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. 31 USC 3731(b).

The Act further states that “[f]or statute of limitations purposes, any . . . Government pleading shall relate back to the filing date of the complaint of the person who originally brought the action, to the extent that the claim of the Government arises out of the conduct, transactions, or occurrences set forth, or attempted to be set forth, in the prior complaint of that person.” 13 USC 3731(c).

False Claims Act Statute of Limitations and qui tam action is found in Section 3731(b) of the FCA: “A civil action under section 3730 may not be brought:

(1) more than 6 years after the date on which the violation of 31 USC 3729 is committed, or
(2) more than 3 years after the date when facts material to the right of action are known or reasonably 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.”

Sometimes federal agencies may try to suggest why the False Claims Act Statute of Limitations should be tolled. However, defendants would be in a better position than if the defense was not raised at all. Read more about federal false claims act penalties.

FInd Out The Level of Government Claims Services We Offer

If you are a government contractor looking for a False Claims Act & Whistleblower Lawyer or are seeking legal counsel to address matters pertaining to the False Claims Act Statute of Limitations under 18 usc 3731, call the law firm of Watson & Associates, LLC  and speak to John Scorsine at 1-866-601-5518 for cost-effective government contractor defense services.

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