statute of limitations
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Unanimous Supreme Court Ruling Expands Statute of Limitations for Filing Qui Tam Cases

On May 13, the US Supreme Court (the Court) unanimously ruled in Cochise Consultancy, Inc., v. U.S. ex rel. Hunt that the “government knowledge” statute of limitations under the federal False Claims Act (FCA), §31 U.S.C. 3729, et seq., applies regardless of whether the government intervenes in a case. As a result, in some circumstances, relators will have up to four years longer to file qui tam claims. Background The FCA permits a relator bring a qui tam civil action on behalf of the federal government against “any person” who “knowingly presents . . . a false or fraudulent claim for payment” to the government or to certain third parties acting on the government’s behalf. 31 U. S. C. §3730(b). The relator must deliver a copy of the complaint and supporting evidence to the government, which then has 60 days to decide whether to intervene in the action. During this time, the complaint remains under seal. If the government intervenes, it assumes primary...

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SCOTUS to Tackle Circuit Split on FCA Statute of Limitations After Cochise Consultancy, Inc. Decision

On November 16, 2018, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in United States ex rel. Hunt v. Cochise Consultancy, Inc., 887 F.3d 1081 (11th Cir. 2018). The question presented to the Court is “whether a relator in a False Claims Act qui tam action may rely on the statute of limitations in 13 U.S.C. § 3731(b)(2) in a suit in which the United States has declined to intervene and, if so, whether the relator constitutes an “official of the United States” for purposes of Section 3731(b)(2).” Section 3731(b) requires an FCA case be filed either (1) six years after the date on which the violation…is committed, or (2) 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 is later. In Cochise Consultancy,...

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Register today! Health Care Enforcement Q2 Roundup Webinar

Health Care Enforcement Q2 Roundup Webinar Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 Time: 11:00 am PDT | 12:00 pm MDT | 1:00 pm CDT | 2:00 pm EDT REGISTER NOW How will recent developments and emerging trends related to health care fraud and abuse impact future investigation targets and litigants? Our upcoming Health Care Enforcement Quarterly Roundup webinar will address this critical question and discuss trends related to: Continued interpretations of landmark Escobar case Recent guidance from DOJ leadership regarding enforcement priorities Uptick in state and federal efforts to combat the opioid crisis Court guidance on the use of statistical sampling in False Claims Act (FCA) cases Growing Circuit split on key FCA provisions, including the public disclosure bar, statute of limitations and tolling of claims Other trends that are critical to health care business operations and compliance with the ever-changing regulatory landscape Attendees will also receive an advance...

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Supreme Court Rules on Wartime Tolling of FCA Statute of Limitations and FCA’s First-to-File Bar in Kellogg Brown & Root v. United States ex rel. Carter

On May 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Kellogg Brown & Root v. United States ex rel. Carter (S. Ct. No. 12-1497), a case addressing several important issues under the False Claims Act (FCA).  In a previous post, we laid out the two issues in this case.  First, when the United States is at war, does the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA) toll the statute of limitations in civil FCA lawsuits?  Second, does the FCA’s so-called “first-to-file” bar prevent all future cases based on the same alleged fraud, or is it a one-case-at-a-time rule, allowing duplicative claims in the future as long as the first action is settled or dismissed? The Court ruled in favor of Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) on the first issue, holding that the WSLA only tolls the statute of limitations for criminal offenses, not in civil false claims like the relator filed against KBR.  The WSLA tolls the statute of limitations for “any offense” involving...

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Third Circuit Rejects Relator’s Bid for Dodd-Frank Retroactivity

On April 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed dismissal of a relator’s retaliation claims as time-barred, holding that the three-year statute of limitations applicable to such claims as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act does not apply retroactively.  In U.S. ex. rel. Sefen v. Animas Corp., 2015 WL 1611698 (3d Cir. Apr. 13, 2015), the Third Circuit observed that before Dodd-Frank, the False Claims Act did not have an explicit statute of limitations applicable to retaliation claims.  Accordingly, courts would apply the most closely analogous state limitations period.  The relator’s claims against Animas and Johnson & Johnson were clearly time-barred under both of the two potentially applicable Pennsylvania limitations periods. The relator nonetheless argued that the longer Dodd-Frank limitations period should apply retroactively to his claims, asserting that Dodd-Frank enacted a “procedural,” versus “substantive,” change in the law.  In...

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Supreme Court Vets Wartime Tolling of FCA Statute of Limitations in Kellogg Brown & Root v. United States ex rel. Carter

On January 13, 2015, the Supreme Court held oral argument in the closely followed case of Kellogg Brown & Root v. United States ex rel. Carter.  Two questions with sweeping False Claims Act (FCA) enforcement implications were at issue:  first, whether the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA) tolls the statute of limitations in civil actions under the FCA while the nation is at war; and second, whether the FCA’s so-called “first-to-file” bar prohibits future filings based on the same alleged fraud or functions as a more permissive one-case-at-a-time rule, allowing duplicative claims in future actions.  The lower court, the Fourth Circuit, held that the qui tam relator’s claims were timely.  Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) appealed. Made relevant by over a decade of global military action, the WSLA was a little known criminal code provision tolling the statute of limitations for “any offense” involving fraud against the  United States during war....

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