Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc., et al. v. United States ex rel. Carter

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: May 26, 2015
  • Case #: 12-1497
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: ALITO, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.
  • Full Text Opinion

The wartime suspension of limitations act only applies in criminal offenses and not civil suits.

Respondent is seeking a private suit under the False Claims Act (FCA). A qui tam suit brought under the FCA is subject to a first to file restriction and a statute of limitations. Use of the word “pending” in the FCA’s first-to-file bar is given its ordinary meaning. Under the FCA, a similar suit cannot be brought until the earlier suit is decided. It does not bar similar claims in perpetuity. A qui tam suit is pending until it is dismissed.

The Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act suspends applicable statute of limitations for offenses against the Federal Government. The statute provides an exception for indictable offenses, limiting the statute’s application to criminal charges. Deleting the phrase “now indictable” indicates Congress’s intent to apply the statute to past and future offenses, not the intent to apply the statute to civil as well as criminal offenses.

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