A 17-year-old whistleblower suit by a now 81-year-old former engineer at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant has triggered U.S. Supreme Court review of a crucial issue under the fastest growing area of federal civil litigation today, the False Claims Act.

In Rockwell International Corp. v. U.S. and ex rel. Stone, No. 05-1272, the justices on Dec. 5 will examine a critical restriction on who can bring so-called qui tam lawsuits under the act.