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222.12 sec. 1 - Whistleblower Law: Deterring Fraud Against the Government (Fall 2014)

Instructor: Erika Kelton  
Instructor: Claire M. Sylvia  
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Units: 2
Meeting Time: M 8:00-9:50
Meeting Location: 244

Course Start: August 25, 2014
Course Control Number (Non-1Ls): 49574


This course examines a cutting edge litigation regime that seeks to deter fraud against the government. The class is designed as a means of exposing students to complex civil litigation practice, working with clients and the government, government procurement, and public policies aimed at deterring fraud. Students will develop a strong foundation in the operation of whistleblower laws as well as litigation and other legal skills.

The course focuses on the large body of complex and growing litigation under the False Claims Act (FCA) (also know as qui tam), the primary mechanism for prosecuting fraud against the government. The FCA traces it roots to the Civil War era when military contractors often short-changed the government by providing defective and shoddy goods. Recognizing the challenges of eliciting information about such fraud, Congress deployed an innovative mechanism: offering a “bounty” proportional to the scale of the fraud to private individuals who successfully pursued cases on the government’s behalf. Long moribund, the FCA was revitalized in 1986 in response to reports of widespread fraud against the government. Since that time, the federal government has recovered over $50 billion as a result of cases initiated by private citizens across a wide range of industries “ including defense, health care, and environmental protection. The whistleblower reward mechanism has since been widely adopted at the state level and expanded at the federal level to the securities and tax fields.

This course will be taught by leading attorneys in the qui tam field. Claire Sylvia and Erika Kelton are partners at Phillips & Cohen, one of the best known qui tam firms in the nation. Ms. Sylvia is the author of The False Claims Act: Fraud Against the Government, a leading treatise on the FCA. Erika Kelton (Boalt ’87) was named “Whistleblower Lawyer of the Year” for 2012 by Taxpayers Against Fraud, a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of whistleblowers for her contributions to the field including serving as lead counsel in obtaining the two largest recoveries under the statute to date. The course will be taught predominantly through simulated composites of actual cases, with occasional guest speakers from private and government practice offering their perspectives on how they would approach the issues posed. By working through these simulations, students will gain professional practice skills, including intake analysis, litigation strategy, drafting, negotiating, advocacy, and client counseling. Students will also work on a final project involving analyzing and proposing solutions to a current policy issue in the whistleblower law field.

Prerequisites:
civil procedure

This course satisfies the Skills Requirement.

Submit teaching evaluations for this course between 17-NOV-14 and 02-DEC-14

Exam Notes: P+
Course Category: Public Law and Policy
This course is cross-listed in the following categories:
Advocacy Skills Courses
Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP)
Litigation and Procedure

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