KBR Whistleblower Lawsuit to be Weighed by Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court will consider the fate of a whistleblower lawsuit filed against defense contracting giant KBR Inc. alleging that the company billed the government for work they did not do in Iraq. The case is KBR v. United States, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-1497.

The lawsuit alleges that KBR billed the U.S. government for water purification services at two sites in early 2005, but did not actually begin providing the service until that May. The case also names Halliburton Co., who spun off KBR in 2007, as defendants.

The court’s next term begins in October and ends in June 2015. Oral arguments and a decision about the case are due during this time.

The Associated Press reports that the high court will hear KBR’s appeal of the lower court’s decision on Tuesday. The case will be heard by the Supreme Court in the fall.

The case was filed by a former reinstated employee under the federal False Claims Act in 2006. Under this law, individuals who have knowledge of wrongdoing can sue on behalf of the government. If the case is successful, they are entitled to a portion of the proceeds. A federal judge had ruled that it was filed after a six-year deadline passed and tossed the suit. However, this decision was reversed by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who stated that these cases are exempt from the deadline when the country is at war. The appeals court also rejected KBR’s argument that the whistleblower’s claims were not original as required by false claims laws.