The Supreme Court today reversed a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that greatly expanded the reach of the False Claims Act by applying the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act to a civil FCA action. “The text, structure and history of the WSLA show that the Act applies only to criminal offenses,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito, delivering the opinion for a unanimous court. The court affirmed the part of the 4th Circuit’s decision holding that the FCA’s first-to-file rule keeps new claims out of court only while related claims are still alive, not in perpetuity, and remanded the case to the lower court for further proceedings consistent with today’s opinion. The WSLA is a criminal code provision enacted in 1942 to extend the time for government prosecutors to bring charges related to criminal fraud offenses against the U.S. during times of war. In a friend-of-the-court brief last year, the AHA, American Medical Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others urged the court to reverse the 4th Circuit decision, which they said “would only empower unaccountable private relators, as well as the Government, to seek to revive decades-old stale civil claims that are otherwise barred by the statute of limitations and repose.”