Do you have grounds for filling a false claim, but are you unsure of the qui tam statute of limitations? Understanding how long you have to file a qui tam lawsuit is important. Lawsuits filed outside of the statute of limitations cannot be pursued by the government and the relator, or the citizen bringing attention to the fraud, cannot be rewarded for exposing the fraudulent activity.
How long do I have to file a False Claims Act lawsuit?
In an effort to encourage citizens to disclose knowledge of fraud in a timely manner, a statute of limitations was built into the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act outlines the statute of limitations for qui tam lawsuits in section 3731(b). This section of the False Claims Act states that a suit can be filed up to 6 years after the occurrence of the fraudulent activity.
How does the Qui Tam statute of limitations apply to the government’s actions?
After outlining the statute of limitations and how it applies to relators of fraud, the False Claims Act also addresses the issue of how long the government has to take action in recovering money lost as the result of fraud. According to section 3731 of the False Claims Act, the United States government can take action up to three years after receiving information concerning the fraud or at the very most 10 years after the fraudulent activity occurred. While there has been some debate concerning whether this portion of the statute of limitations can be applied to relators, the general consensus is that this portion was created to govern the United States government’s actions in qui tam lawsuits.
What about first-to-file?
Outside the qui tam statute of limitations, there is another way the government is encouraging relators to file a qui tam lawsuit in a timely manner. In section 3730(b) of the False Claims Act, the first-to-file statute is outlined. Citizens can only be rewarded for disclosing knowledge of fraud if they are the first person to file information about a specific fraudulent activity. This section of the False Claims Act was created to encourage timely filing of a qui tam lawsuit but it was also created to prevent multiple lawsuits being filed concerning the same fraudulent activity.
Public knowledge of the fraud?
The Qui Tam statute of limitations and the first-to-file rule were created to encourage timely reporting of fraudulent activity. There is one more reason relators should act quickly and file a qui tam lawsuit in a timely manner. Similar to first-to-file, if the fraud is made public before filing, the relator is no longer entitled to compensation for disclosing information regarding the fraud.
At Bothwell Law Group, we focus all of our efforts on lawsuit related to the False Claims Act. Because of this, we are able to act quickly, filing qui tam lawsuits in a timely manner. If you have questions about the qui tam statute of limitations, click to contact the Bothwell Law Group today.