Government and Regulatory Litigation LITIGATION/CONTROVERSY

Drawing on years of experience both inside and outside of government, lawyers in WilmerHale’s Government and Regulatory Litigation Group handle a wide range of litigation involving the federal government and state and foreign governments as well as litigation under a variety of complex regulatory schemes. The group brings together the firm’s substantive regulatory expertise—in antitrust, aviation, communications, defense and national security, anti-discrimination law, education, energy, environmental law, financial institutions, government contracting, health care and pharmaceuticals, patent law, technology, transportation and international law, among others—and its familiarity with litigation involving the government and under regulatory regimes.

We have significant experience bringing pre-enforcement and other expedited challenges seeking to immediately enjoin or set aside laws, regulations, and agency decisions that pose imminent threats to our clients’ interests. We also frequently have been able to resolve potentially large-scale litigation at the motion to dismiss or summary judgment stage or to obtain advantageous early settlements. Our ability to find creative early solutions has been enhanced by our track record of successfully litigating matters through trial where necessary.

Our Lawyers

Our lawyers have served in senior government positions, including senior positions in the Department of Justice, the primary litigation arm of the United States. Lawyers affiliated with the Government and Regulatory Litigation Group include:

  • Two former Deputy Attorneys General of the United States (the second highest position in the Department of Justice)
  • A former Solicitor General of the United States and a former Assistant to the Solicitor General
  • A former Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, the largest litigating division of the Justice Department
  •  A former Acting Assistant Attorney General and a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel
  • A former Assistant Attorney General for Office of Legal Policy
  • A former United States Attorney, Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Interior and Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks
  • A former General Counsel for the Department of Defense and a former Deputy General Counsel for the Department of Defense responsible for litigation
  • A former Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General and Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division

Drawing on years of experience both inside and outside of government, lawyers in WilmerHale’s Government and Regulatory Litigation Group handle a wide range of litigation involving the federal government and state and foreign governments as well as litigation under a variety of complex regulatory schemes. The group brings together the firm’s substantive regulatory expertise—in antitrust, aviation, communications, defense and national security, anti-discrimination law, education, energy, environmental law, financial institutions, government contracting, health care and pharmaceuticals, patent law, technology, transportation and international law, among others—and its familiarity with litigation involving the government and under regulatory regimes.

We have significant experience bringing pre-enforcement and other expedited challenges seeking to immediately enjoin or set aside laws, regulations, and agency decisions that pose imminent threats to our clients’ interests. We also frequently have been able to resolve potentially large-scale litigation at the motion to dismiss or summary judgment stage or to obtain advantageous early settlements. Our ability to find creative early solutions has been enhanced by our track record of successfully litigating matters through trial where necessary.

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Contacts

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Ogden, David W.

David W. Ogden

Chair, Government and Regulatory Litigation Practice Group

+1 202 663 6440 (t)

david.ogden@wilmerhale.com

Nichols, Carl J.

Carl J. Nichols

Vice Chair, Government and Regulatory Litigation Practice Group

+1 202 663 6226 (t)

carl.nichols@wilmerhale.com

Government Litigation

We routinely handle litigation against, with or for the government in a variety of contexts, including:

  • Constitutional and preemption challenges to legislation
  • Challenges to agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act
  • Regulatory enforcement actions
  • False Claims Act litigation
  • Government contract litigation
  • International litigation involving the United States or foreign governmental institutions

A successful government litigation strategy must take into account legal doctrines applicable to litigation involving the government, including sovereign immunity, ripeness, mootness, standing, the availability of pre-enforcement relief, abstention, and deference. Our lawyers have expertise in the constitutional, administrative, and statutory law that applies uniquely to litigation with or involving governments.

Effective representation in government litigation also requires consideration of the government’s institutional interests and decision-making processes. These interests and processes often differ substantially from those of private litigants. Our experience allows us to take advantage of the opportunities presented by these distinct rules, constraints, operations, and motivations. By combining the group’s knowledge of the issues that arise in government litigation with the substantive expertise of the firm’s regulatory practices, we are well positioned to handle complex regulatory, administrative, or constitutional litigation involving governments.

Regulatory Litigation

A host of federal statutes—including, for example, the antitrust, anti-discrimination, environmental, and fraud and racketeering laws, as well as the False Claims Act—create rights of action for private parties seeking to enforce federal regulatory regimes. Civil litigation brought pursuant to these private rights of action, including class actions, often occurs in parallel with enforcement or potential enforcement by federal regulators or prosecutors or scrutiny from Congress, foreign governments and/or the press. A successful litigation strategy—whether offensive or defensive—must take account of opportunities and risks in all of these areas, building alliances where advantageous, finding ways to advance litigation objectives quickly or otherwise develop positive momentum, and developing creative solutions in a dynamic environment.

Our experience with the applicable regulatory programs and complex civil litigation, coupled with our experience handling criminal and civil government litigation and other high profile legal proceedings, allows us to advance our clients’ interests in litigation while maximizing their position in other venues.

Experience

Representative government and regulatory litigation matters handled by the group include the following:

  • Representation of companies in the pharmaceutical, telecommunications, office supplies, entertainment, defense, insurance, oil and gas, financial institutions and other industries in qui tam and government-initiated litigation under the False Claims Act.
  • Representation of a trade association in a successful patent preemption and dormant commerce clause challenge to District of Columbia legislation imposing price caps on patented prescription drugs.
  • Representation of a major telecommunications carrier in defending the constitutionality of the immunity provision of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 in consolidated class actions alleging that carriers cooperated with alleged NSA counter-terrorism surveillance following the attacks of September 11.
  • Representation of a defense contractor in a high-stakes contract dispute involving provision of equipment to the U.S. military.
  • Representation of a major prescription drug wholesaler in an Administrative Procedure Act challenge to a Drug Enforcement Administration order suspending the registration of one of the company’s distribution facilities.
  • Representation of a U.S. petrochemical company in successful litigation to declare unenforceable foreign judgments totaling more than $500 million.
  • Representation of a U.S. energy company in litigation in federal court challenging the seizure of their business by a foreign government under the expropriation exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
  • Representation of a major aerospace company in a successful Atomic Energy Act preemption, intergovernmental immunity, and constitutional challenge to a California statute that singled out one site in the state for uniquely onerous environmental cleanup regulations.
  • Defense of numerous significant international cartel cases involving a variety of industries, including automotive components, air cargo and LCD panels.
  • Representation of state governmental entities and individuals in defending the constitutionality of state and federal programs that support research and promotion of agricultural commodities.
  • Representation of major aerospace company in separate government contract disputes pending in the Court of Federal Claims and Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals.

Publications & News

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April 28, 2016

Thomas Saunders Named an Appellate Rising Star by Law360

WilmerHale Partner Thomas Saunders is one of only six attorneys nationwide named a 2016 Appellate Rising Star by Law360 and one among four WilmerHale partners selected to this year's overall list.

April 22, 2016

Catherine Carroll Named an Appellate Rising Star by Law360

WilmerHale Partner Catherine Carroll is one of only six attorneys nationwide named a 2016 Appellate Rising Star by Law360, and one among four WilmerHale partners selected to this year's overall list.

April 14, 2016

Department of Defense Revises Landmark Cybersecurity Rule, Extends Deadline for Some Compliance Requirements

An article by Benjamin A. Powell, Barry J. Hurewitz, Jonathan G. Cedarbaum, Jason C. Chipman and Leah Schloss, published in the May 2016 issue of Privacy & Cybersecurity Law Report, explores the new, amended Department of Defense interim cybersecurity rule that prescribes cybersecurity requirements, including mandatory cybersecurity-related contract clauses in all DoD contracts subject to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement. 

April 1, 2016

Busy 1st Quarter For FCPA Enforcement

An article by Jay Holtmeier, Kimberly Parker, Erin Sloane, Lillian Potter, Jeanne Gellman and Erin Kuhls, published in the March 31, 2016 issue of Law360, explores cases indicating that even as the DOJ has renewed its focus on individuals, it continues to pursue large cases with corporations—and that the SEC continues to broadly define a "thing of value" under the FCPA.

March 11, 2016

Congressional Hearing Examines Free Speech and Tax Constraints on Campus Political Activity

Campuses across the country are wrestling with how free speech, tolerance, diversity and politics mix in a higher education environment. Recently, the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee examined the intersection of an institution's 501(c)(3) status and campus policies that regulate partisan political activity. 

March 10, 2016

For WilmerHale, a High Court 'No' Means a Client 'Yes'

WilmerHale achieved a victory for San Jose when the US Supreme Court denied cert. in California Building Industry Association v. San Jose, a case in which the firm represented the City of San Jose, California.

January 21, 2016

AML Litigation and Individual Liability: FinCEN's Landmark Haider Case Moves Forward

A federal district court in Minnesota recently held that the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) permits the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to bring suit against individuals for willfully violating the BSA's AML program requirement. 

January 21, 2016

FinCEN Sets Its Sights on Luxury Real Estate

On January 13, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued Geographic Targeting Orders that will temporarily require title insurance companies to report the identities of the natural persons behind companies paying cash for high-end residential real estate in Manhattan and Miami-Dade County. 

January 13, 2016

FTC Report Examines Legal and Policy Considerations for Big Data Analytics, Promises More Enforcement

The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) recent report, Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?, released on January 6, warns businesses engaged in big data analytics that the practice poses liability risks. While the FTC does not propose new law or policy, the report advises that existing laws-including the FTC Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)-already can reach certain uses of big data

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.