Supreme Court Clarifies Statute of Limitations Applicable to False Claims Act Whistleblower Suits Against Government Contractors: In Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc., et al. v. United States ex rel. Carter, Supreme Court Holds That Statute of Limitations Suspension Applicable to Criminal Fraud Charges Does Not Apply To Civil Fraud Claims and That First-to-File Bar Does Not Preclude Suits Following Dismissal of First-Filed Action

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - May 28, 2015

On May 26, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision concerning the scope of civil fraud claims brought by whistleblowers under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) against government contractors.  In Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. et al. v. United States ex rel. Carter, slip op. __, 575 U.S. __ (2015), the Court held that the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (“WSLA”) applies only to criminal charges, and does not suspend the limitations period for civil claims brought by individual whistleblowers under the FCA.  The Court also held that the FCA’s “first-to-file” bar—which bars subsequent claims brought with regard to the same underlying allegations as an earlier filed action—does not bar seriatim litigation if the first-filed claim has been dismissed.