The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a ruling limiting the time allowed for whistleblowers to appeal cases filed under the False Claims Act. That statute permits whistleblowers to file lawsuits on behalf of the government and force unscrupulous government contractors to reimburse the government for monies bilked from U.S. taxpayers. Justice Clarence Thomas authored the opinion in U.S. ex rel Eisenstein v. City of New York, in which the Court held that a whistleblower has just 30 days to appeal a False Claims Act ruling in a case where the government has declined to intervene. The time period for appeal of cases in which the U.S. is a party is 60 days, but the Court reasoned that where the government decides not to intervene, a False Claims Act case should be treated no differently than any other private party claim.

The Eisenstein appeal, filed 54 days after the lower court ruling, was therefore ruled untimely.

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