People

Christopher E. Babbitt

Partner

Babbitt, Christopher E.
Christopher Babbitt has extensive experience with litigation and strategy involving the federal government and matters of public policy. His practice encompasses all phases of litigation before US district courts, the federal courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court, and frequently involves matters challenging or defending actions taken by the federal government. Mr. Babbitt joined the firm in 2007.

Practice

Mr. Babbitt focuses on government and public policy litigation and strategy. His litigation work frequently involves matters challenging or defending actions taken by the federal government, where the firm’s clients are adverse to the government or aligned with the government against a third-party challenge to a federal law, rule, program, or policy position. He has significant civil litigation experience under the False Claims Act, where he has represented clients in the defense, pharmaceutical, financial services, and construction industries. Mr. Babbitt also advises private- and public-sector clients on matters of public policy, public affairs, and strategy. In addition, Mr. Babbitt regularly advises corporations, universities, non-profit organizations, and individuals on compliance with the federal lobbying disclosure laws, the government ethics laws, and the Foreign Agents Registration Act.  

Publications & News

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February 20, 2018

Supreme Court to Decide Future of Sports Betting: Implications for Tribal Casinos

The Supreme Court's forthcoming decision in Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association will have profound implications for sports betting in the United States and will potentially open the door to such betting in tribal casinos across the country.

January 9, 2018

False Claims Act: 2017 Year-in-Review

False Claims Act recoveries topped $3.7 billion in fiscal year 2017, marking the eighth straight year of annual recoveries in excess of $3 billion.

April 27, 2017

Understanding the Amended Executive Branch Gift Rules

An article written by Adam Raviv, Thomas White and Christopher Babbitt, published by Law360, addresses the most pertinent rules that govern the acceptance of gifts by members of the executive brand in light of recent changes to the Office of Government Ethics regulations that took effect earlier this year.

January 31, 2017

False Claims Act: 2016 Year-in-Review

In 2016, the Department of Justice continued to give high priority to False Claims Act investigations and prosecutions. This WilmerHale Client Alert was republished by Pratt's Government Contracting Law Report.

November 16, 2016

Considerations When Hiring Legislative Branch Employees

An article by Christopher Babbitt, Thomas White, Adam Raviv and Blake Roberts, published by Law360, discusses legal considerations for companies looking to hire legislative branch employees as the Obama Administration winds down.

October 26, 2016

Considerations When Hiring Executive Branch Employees

An article by Christopher Babbitt, Thomas White and Blake Roberts, published by Law360, discusses legal considerations for companies looking to hire executive branch employees as the Obama Administration winds down.

January 12, 2016

False Claims Act: 2015 Year-in-Review

In 2015, the Justice Department continued to give high priority to False Claims Act investigations, bringing in nearly $3.6 billion in settlements and judgments.

December 7, 2015

Supreme Court To Address Permissibility and Scope of Implied Certification Liability Under the False Claims Act

On Friday, December 4, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case raising the questions of whether implied certification liability is permissible under the False Claims Act and, if so, under what circumstances.

November 23, 2015

BIA Finalizes Reforms for Obtaining Rights of Way on Indian Lands

On November 19, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) published a final rule that makes sweeping changes to the process for obtaining rights of way for proposed oil and gas pipelines, electric transmission lines, railroads, roads and other infrastructure projects on Indian lands. This is the first update of BIA’s right-of-way regulations in more than 30 years. The revised rule aims to expedite and clarify the BIA right-of-way process for project developers, as well as to support the interests of Tribes and individual Indian landowners. The rule update was announced earlier this month at the 7th Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference. The rule is scheduled to go into effect on December 21, 2015.

January 29, 2015

False Claims Act: 2014 Year-in-Review

The federal government collected a record-breaking $5.7 billion in False Claims Act (FCA) recoveries in fiscal year (FY) 2014, up from $3.8 billion in FY 2013.

Recent Highlights

False Claims Act Litigation

  • Counsel for a defense contractor in a suit alleging that the contractor fraudulently concealed defects in the equipment it manufactured for the military. The district court dismissed the qui tam case on Rule 9(b) grounds and the relator declined to appeal.
  • Counsel for a pharmaceutical company alleged to have made false marketing claims regarding its product.  The district court dismissed the case and the Fourth Circuit affirmed, holding that the general release of claims the relator signed upon leaving the company barred the relator's subsequent qui tam suit.
  • Counsel for student loan company in qui tam suit challenging industry-wide practice of recycling student loan proceeds to purchase additional loans entitled to fixed-rate special allowance payments (SAPs) from the Department of Education. 
  • Counsel for government contractor in DOJ investigation related to work performed in Iraq.

Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation

  • Counsel (on briefs) for patent-holder in Supreme Court litigation regarding the enforcement of patents in self-replicating biotechnology.  The Supreme Court ruled unanimously for WilmerHale's client.  See Bowman v. Monsanto Co., No. 11-796 (2013).
  • Counsel (on briefs) for international maritime shipping company in litigation regarding the availability of class arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act. The Supreme Court held that class arbitration may not be imposed on parties that have not consented to class proceedings, a victory for WilmerHale's client. See Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. AnimalFeeds, 130 S. Ct. 1758 (2010).
  • Counsel (on briefs) for the State of Georgia, City of Atlanta, and other Georgia entities in litigation brought by Alabama and Florida challenging the Army Corps of Engineers' management of the federal reservoir that supplies Atlanta with its principal source of water.  The Eleventh Circuit ruled unanimously for WilmerHale's clients, and the Supreme Court denied certiorari. See In re Tri-State Water Rights Litigation, 644 F.3d 1160 (11th Cir. 2011).

District Court Litigation

  • Counsel for public international organization in litigation implicating the immunities provided by the Bretton Woods Agreements Act and the International Organizations Immunities Act. In a published decision, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that the client organization was absolutely immune from judicial process under the Acts.
  • Counsel for major foreign airline in litigation alleging price-fixing conspiracy on transatlantic and Europe-Japan routes. The cases were dismissed by the United States District Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Eastern District of New York.
  • Counsel for California inmate in litigation under Section 1983 and RICO following orchestrated attack during prison lockdown. Negotiated a $210,000 settlement with the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation on behalf of injured inmate.

Professional Activities

Mr. Babbitt served as a board member of the Bay Area Lawyers Chapter of the American Constitution Society and is a member of the American Bar Association.

Practices

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Education

JD, cum laude, Harvard Law School, 2002

MA, Religious Studies, Stanford University, 1999

BA, Religious Studies, Stanford University, 1998

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

California

Clerkships

The Hon. Mary M. Schroeder, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 2002 - 2003

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