In this significant decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit regarding false claims against the government by carrier DHL, the Second Circuit ruled that the 180-day transportation statute, cited in the earlier decision, is trumped by FCA’s seal provision and the statute of limitations.
The Second Circuit rejected DHL’s argument that the relators and the government failed to satisfy a statutory notice requirement imposed by 49 U.S.C. § 13710(a)(3)(B) — a transportation statute that requires that bills be contested within 180 days. The Second Circuit ruled that this 180-day rule cannot apply to False Act Claims Act cases because it would undermine both the FCA’s seal provisions and statute of limitations.
The Second Circuit’s recognition that the False Claims Act’s requirement that actions be brought under seal (in secret) trumps an unrelated transportation statute requiring that a bill be contested and brought to the defendant’s attention within 180 days. According to the Second Circuit, “[t]he purpose of the sealing provisions is to allow the government time to investigate the alleged false claim and to prevent qui tam plaintiffs from alerting a putative defendant to possible investigations.”
This decision recognizes the primacy of the procedural dictates of the False Claims Act over ancillary statutes that might apply generally to particular industries.
Please see full decision below for more information.
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