Ten Year Statute of Limitation can Apply to Whistleblower Initiated Lawsuits Attempting to Recover Penalties from Contractors who Defraud the Taxpayers
Washington, D.C. May 13, 2019. Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in support of whistleblowers in the False Claims Act case entitled Cochise Consultancy, Inc. v. United States, ex rel. Hunt. In a decision written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Court rejected arguments raised by the two defense contractors and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that sought to weaken the FCA by reducing the time period for filing a lawsuit from ten years to six years in certain cases.
The impact of the decision has significant implications, as whistleblowers and the government can pursue additional cases where fraudsters have attempted to use legal technicalities to avoid liability.
Whistleblower lawyer Stephen M. Kohn, a founding partner of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, and the principal author of an amicus brief submitted on behalf of the National Whistleblower Center, praised today’s decision stating:
“The Supreme Court recognized that the purpose of the False Claims Act is to incentivize whistleblowers to provide the government with evidence of fraud. They rejected arguments raised by two defense contractors and the Chamber of Commerce that sought to limit the ability of whistleblowers to file cases seeking to recover funds for the taxpayers.”
The False Claims Act’s whistleblower reward provisions have been widely praised by officials from the Administrations of Trump, Obama, and prior administrations, as “the most powerful tool the American people have to protect the government from fraud.”
Learn more about this case:
Decision of the U.S. Supreme Court (May 13, 2019)
Amicus Curiae brief of National Whistleblower Center
Link to all briefing from the SCOTUSblog