The Supreme Court just held that the 10-year statute of limitation period in the federal False Claims Act (FCA) applies to all FCA suits brought by whistleblowers, and further held that a whistleblower is not an “official of the United States” for purposes of limiting the time period for such suits.
A copy of the decision is available here.
The decision is unanimous, plainly-worded and very straightforward, suggesting the Court’s full support for a tool with only one real goal – to stop government fraud.
While there remain several open questions and more arguments that defendants will certainly make in attempting to defeat or curtail whistleblower litigation, the initial result of the decision will be to increase the amount of damages that the government may recover in such suits. This is especially true given that under the FCA, the government is entitled to collect up to three times the total amount of actual damages. If anything, that should put wrongdoers on notice – defrauding the government may be very expensive.