On May 26, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel Carter, No. 12-1497, __ S. Ct. __ (2015), in which a relator brought civil False Claims Act (FCA) claims against government contractors. The relator alleged that the contractors had made fraudulent payment claims in connection with a contract to provide water purification services during the Iraq War. In making its decision, as Reed Smith attorneys Kate Seikaly, Andy Bernasconi, Kathleen Nandan and Dan Herbst point out in “Unanimous Supreme Court Rejects Wartime Tolling of Statute of Limitations for Civil False Claims but Opens Door to Successive Qui Tams,” the Supreme Court unanimously held that (1) the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA) applies solely to criminal offenses and thus does not toll the statute of limitations period under the civil FCA, and (2) subsequent qui tam claims may be filed, unless an earlier filed qui tam case remains “pending” in court. While the first part of the ruling is favorable for FCA defendants, the second part gives relators the opportunity to file repeat qui tam claims – which may land defendants back in court more often than they would like.
To read the client alert, click here.