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Understanding the statute of limitations with the False Claims Act

Qui Tam Lawsuits and Their Importance

A qui tam lawsuit is a civil action brought against a party or parties who have committed fraud against the United States government. Some examples of this kind of lawsuit include

  • using false statements or records to get government payments
  • falsifying records to reduce the amount of money owed to the government and
  • helping others commit fraud against the government to get money.

Because of these lawsuits, the US government managed to recover over $2.8 billion in fiscal year 2018 alone.

The government has a clear interest i protecting individuals who come forward with these kinds of claims, but there are time limits written into the law as to how long a party can wait to file a qui tam lawsuit.

Statute of Limitations

A regular civil case has a statute of limitations of only two years, but a qui tam lawsuit has a much longer time period during which the government can wait before pursuing the case.

Basically, when a whistleblower is the one who is bringing the information to support the case, the whistleblower is called a “relator.” The relator is bringing the suit as if it is his own, and must file the lawsuit either

  • within six years from when the fraud was committed or
  • within three years after the US government knew, or should have known, about the facts relevant to the fraud.

A False Claims Act lawsuit can involve any department of the US government, and the parties committing fraud may be experienced or naive actors.

Either way, you can protect yourself better if you have an experienced attorney who will represent you to ensure that your rights are not violated as a result of your worthy actions.

If you think you should file a lawsuit, or if you have been trying to pursue an action yourself, call today and we will discuss your case with no obligation to you.

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