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SCOTUS Ruling Extends FCA Filing Deadline For Private Qui Tam Claimants

Posted in Fraud and Abuse

A ruling Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court in Cochise Consultancy, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Hunt, No. 18-315, (Sup. Ct. May 13, 2019) means that whistleblowers proceeding without the government will have up to four more years to file legal action under the False Claims Act (FCA). The unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court justices held that the limitations period in 31 U.S.C. §3731(b)(2) for qui tam suits is the same, regardless of whether the government intervenes in the suit. In its opinion, the Court explained that both government-initiated suits and relator-initiated suits are “civil action[s] under section 3730,” so the plain text of the statute makes the two limitations periods applicable in both types of suits. It is not clear what, if any, substantive impact this will have on the number of FCA claims, but it is something to monitor since the FCA is a powerful enforcement tool in healthcare.

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