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District Court Judge Rules Three Year Statute of Limitations for False Claims Act Against D.C.

In Saunders v. District of Columbia [link to opinion], Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that the Federal False Claims Act has a three year statute of limitations when bringing a lawsuit against the District of Columbia.  Congress recently passed the Dodd-Frank Act, which included a provision setting the statute of limitations of the False Claims Act to three years.  However, the court did not address whether this provision retroactively applied to the pending case.  Instead, the court used the old method of applying the statute of limitations of the most similar state law to the Federal False Claims Act.  The court found the D.C. False Claims Act was nearly identical to the Federal False Claims Act, and therefore applied the three year statute of limitations of the D.C. law to the present Federal False Claims Act lawsuit.  Whistleblowers Theresa Saunders, who blew the whistle on deficiencies in how the Office of Chief Technology was using federal funding, may proceed to trial.

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