As we predicted in our posting, Four Takeaways from Oral Argument in Cochise Consultancy, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Hunt, a unanimous Supreme Court has ruled that private qui tam relators may avail themselves of a provision in the FCA’s statute of limitations which allows a plaintiff to bring suit within three years after the United States official charged with the responsibility to act knew or should have known the relevant facts, even if that exceeds the usual six-year limitation. 31 U.S.C. § 3731(b)(2).
We first previewed the case here: Three-Way Split on a Three-Year Provision: the FCA goes back to the Supreme Court. The Court unsurprisingly agreed that even a declined qui tam action is a “civil action under section 3730” within the meaning of Section 3731(b), and also rejected defendant’s argument that a relator could qualify as “the official of the United States charged with responsibility to act in the circumstances.” 31 U.S.C. § 3731(b)(2).
While we had hoped for some insight into the Court’s take on the government/relator relationship, the case was resolved on a fairly straightforward statutory analysis.