Government Supports Indefinite Tolling of Civil Fraud Cases Under Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act

The Solicitor General has asked the Supreme Court of the United States not to review a recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit applying the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act (“WSLA”) to toll a False Claims Act (“FCA”) case brought by a private relator against a wartime contractor. According to the government, the WSLA tolls the statute of limitations for “all frauds” against the United States—including civil FCA claims brought by qui tam plaintiffs —for a potentially indefinite period of time, unless and until there is a formal Presidential proclamation that the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have ended. The position asserted by the government, which has already been adopted in the Fourth Circuit and in several district courts in other circuits, could have sweeping consequences for potential FCA defendants in a wide range of industries, who may face years of indefinite tolling, even for conduct unrelated to wartime efforts and even in cases where the government chose not to intervene in a qui tam action.

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