1-615. False claims procedure.

(a) Statute of Limitations. - A civil action under G.S. 1-608 may not be brought (i) more than six years after the date on which the violation of G.S. 1-607 was committed or (ii) more than three 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 State of North Carolina 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, whichever occurs last.

(b) If the Attorney General elects to intervene and proceed with an action brought under G.S. 1-608(b), the State may file its own complaint or amend the complaint of a person who has brought an action under G.S. 1-608(b) to clarify or add detail to the claims with respect to which the State is intervening and to add any additional claims with respect to which the State contends it is entitled to relief. For statute of limitations purposes, any such State 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 State arises out of the conduct, transactions, or occurrences set forth, or attempted to be set forth, in the prior complaint of that person.

(c) Burden of Proof. - In any action brought under G.S. 1-608, the State or the qui tam plaintiff shall be required to prove all essential elements of the cause of action, including damages, by a preponderance of the evidence.

(d) Estoppel. - Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a final judgment rendered in favor of the State in a criminal proceeding charging false statements or fraud, 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 that involves the same transaction as in the criminal proceeding and which is brought under G.S. 1-608.

(e) Venue. - Venue for any action brought pursuant to G.S. 1-608 shall be in either Wake County or in any county in which a claim originated, or in which any statement or record was made, or acts done, or services or property rendered in connection with any act constituting part of the violation of this Article.

(f) Service on Federal, State, or Local Authorities. - With respect to the United States or any State or local government that is named as a co-plaintiff in an action brought under G.S. 1-608, a seal on the action ordered by the court under G.S. 1-608(b) shall not preclude the State or the person bringing the action from serving the complaint, any other pleadings, or the written disclosure of substantially all material evidence and information possessed by the person bringing the action on the law enforcement authorities that are authorized under the law of the co-plaintiff government to investigate and prosecute such actions on behalf of that co-plaintiff government, except that the seal applies to the law enforcement authorities so served to the same extent as the seal applies to other parties in the action.

(g) A civil action may not be brought under both this Article and Part 7 of Article 2 of Chapter 108A of the General Statutes. (2009-554, s. 1.)