31 U.S.C. § 3731

Updated July 10, 2018
§ 3731. False claims procedure
(a) A subpena requiring the attendance of a witness at a trial or hearing conducted under section 3730 of this title may be served at any place in the United States.
(b) A civil action under section 3730 may not be brought—whichever occurs last.
(1) more than 6 years after the date on which the violation of section 3729 is committed, or
(2) more than 3 years after the date when facts material to the right of action are known or reasonably should have been known by the official of the United States charged with responsibility to act in the circumstances, but in no event more than 10 years after the date on which the violation is committed,
(c) If the Government elects to intervene and proceed with an action brought under 3730(b),So in original. Probably should be preceded by “section”. the Government may file its own complaint or amend the complaint of a person who has brought an action under section 3730(b) to clarify or add detail to the claims in which the Government is intervening and to add any additional claims with respect to which the Government contends it is entitled to relief. For statute of limitations purposes, any such Government pleading shall relate back to the filing date of the complaint of the person who originally brought the action, to the extent that the claim of the Government arises out of the conduct, transactions, or occurrences set forth, or attempted to be set forth, in the prior complaint of that person.
(d) In any action brought under section 3730, the United States shall be required to prove all essential elements of the cause of action, including damages, by a preponderance of the evidence.
(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, or the Federal Rules of Evidence, a final judgment rendered in favor of the United States in any criminal proceeding charging fraud or false statements, whether upon a verdict after trial or upon a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, shall estop the defendant from denying the essential elements of the offense in any action which involves the same transaction as in the criminal proceeding and which is brought under subsection (a) or (b) of section 3730.

(Pub. L. 97–258, Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 979; Pub. L. 99–562, § 5, Oct. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 3158; Pub. L. 111–21, § 4(b), May 20, 2009, 123 Stat. 1623.)

Historical and Revision Notes Revised Section Source (U.S. Code) Source (Statutes at Large) 3731(a) 31:232(F). R.S. § 3491(F); added Nov. 2, 1978, Pub. L. 95–582, § 1, 92 Stat. 2479. 3731(b) 31:235. R.S. § 3494. In subsection (b), the words “A civil action under section 3730 of this title” are substituted for “Every such suit” for clarity.

The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, referred to in subsec. (e), are set out in the Appendix to Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure. The Federal Rules of Evidence, referred to in subsec. (e), are set out in the Appendix to Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.

2009—Subsecs. (c) to (e). Pub. L. 111–21, which directed amendment of section “3731(b)” of this title by adding subsec. (c) and redesignating former subsecs. (c) and (d) as (d) and (e), respectively, was executed by making the amendment to this section, to reflect the probable intent of Congress. 1986—Subsecs. (b) to (d). Pub. L. 99–562 added subsecs. (b) to (d) and struck out former subsec. (b) which read as follows: “A civil action under section 3730 of this title must be brought within 6 years from the date the violation is committed.”

Amendment by Pub. L. 111–21 effective May 20, 2009, and applicable to conduct on or after May 20, 2009, except that this section, as amended by Pub. L. 111–21, applicable to cases pending on May 20, 2009, see section 4(f) of Pub. L. 111–21, set out as a note under section 3729 of this title.