Supreme Court sides with defence contractor KBR in false claims dispute over work in Iraq

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of defence contractor KBR Inc. in a whistleblower lawsuit over claims that the company overbilled the government for work in Iraq.

The justices ruled unanimously Tuesday that former KBR employee Benjamin Carter waited too long to file a suit alleging that the company had fraudulently billed the government for water purification services in Iraq.

The federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, said the case could go forward because a World War II-era law allows such lawsuits to be filed past the normal six-year deadline when the country is at war.

The high court said the law applies only to criminal charges, not the civil claims at issue in Carter’s suit.

The case is Kellogg, Brown & Root v. U.S., 12-1497.