Recently, in United States ex rel. Hunt v. Cochise Consultancy Inc., the Eleventh Circuit widened a split in authority regarding the applicability of the tolling provision of the False Claims Act’s statute of limitations, holding that it is applicable to qui tam actions even when the government declines to intervene. The court also found that the period is triggered by a government official’s knowledge of the fraud. 887 F.3d 1081 (11th Cir. 2018). In so holding, the Eleventh Circuit disagreed with the Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits’ interpretation of the statutory language and arguably extended the filing period for relators within its jurisdiction.
As we discussed during Crowell & Moring’s webinar last week Top Headlines, Headaches, and Developments for Government Contractors to Watch in 2015, the CDA’s six-year statute of limitations has been a hot topic for both contractor and Government claims over the past several years.
Until recently, the case law at the Federal Circuit, the Boards, and the Court of Federal Claims was unanimous that the statute of limitations was jurisdictional. That meant that claims that accrued more than six years prior to their assertion would be null and void – contractors and the Government could not waive or toll the statutory deadline, and the tribunals had no jurisdiction to hear cases based on untimely claims. Continue Reading Claims Practice Bulletin: What the Newly Interpreted “Non-Jurisdictional” CDA Statute of Limitations Means for Contractors
The Contract Disputes Act, 41 U.S.C. §§ 7101-7109, sets forth certain prerequisites for the exercise of jurisdiction over claims. Among these prerequisites is a six-year statute of limitations, which is applicable to Government and contractor claims alike. With few exceptions, claims submitted more than six years after “accrual” are not valid and cognizable under the CDA.
The obvious question is, when does the clock start – i.e., when does a claim “accrue”? Although the CDA does not define the term accrual, the ASBCA and Court of Federal Claims rely on the FAR 33.201 definition, which describes accrual as “the date when all events, which fix the alleged liability of either the Government or the contractor and permit the assertion of the claim, were known or should have been known.” As you may have guessed by the phrase “known or should have known,” determining when a claim accrues can raise a number of subjective and factual questions (for example, who must know? And when “should” that person have known?). Over the past several years, there have been a number of SOL decisions attempting to clarify this standard in the context of contractor and Government claims (see previous discussions here, here, here, here, here, and here). Continue Reading Applicable Statute of Limitations for CAS Violations Comes into Focus