The Future of False Claims Act, Qui Tam Litigation

Munger, Tolles & Olson’s Blanca F. Young discussed the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kellogg Brown & Root Services Inc. v United States ex rel. Carter on the future of qui tam litigation under the False Claims Act (FCA) in a Law360 article published May 28, 2015.

In a unanimous decision issued on May 26, 2015, the court held that the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (WSLA) applies only to criminal offenses, and that the “first-to-file rule” prohibits qui tam actions only while a similar suit is pending.

Ms. Young observed that the court’s ruling gives defendants an important victory on a statute of limitations question that threatened exposure to civil fraud litigation with no foreseeable expiration date. At the same time, it resolves a circuit split on the scope of the FCA’s first-to-file rule in favor of relators, allowing repetitive qui tam actions to go forward once an earlier-filed qui tam lawsuit has been dismissed.

“If one thing is clear after Carter, it is that the burgeoning tide of qui tam litigation will not abate any time soon,” she wrote.

Ms. Young is a San Francisco-based litigation partner who regularly represents clients in civil fraud disputes arising under the False Claims Act.