Babbitt, Christopher E.

Christopher E. Babbitt

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.  

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.

Experience

  • 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.

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