SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 23, 2010 - California Lawyer magazine has selected Eric R. Havian, a partner with Phillips & Cohen LLP, as a California "Attorney of the Year" for 2010 for his work representing whistleblowers in false claims cases.
California Lawyer says, "These prestigious awards are handed out to a select group of extraordinary attorneys from different practice areas, all of whom made a significant impact in 2009."
Mr. Havian was the lead attorney representing whistleblowers and other plaintiffs in two fraud cases that settled last year, including one that was the largest settlement ever paid by a defense contractor in a "qui tam" (whistleblower) case and the second largest settlement ever paid involving defense contractor fraud.
In that federal qui tam case, Mr. Havian represented a whistleblower who alleged that Northrop Grumman sold faulty electronic components to the government for military satellites, causing those satellites to fail in orbit. Northrop paid $325 million in April 2009 to settle that case.
In a separate matter, Mr. Havian brought a qui tam case under the California False Claims Act that alleged certain companies had provided valves and other parts that contained excessive lead to numerous California water supply systems. Mr. Havian and Phillips & Cohen represented the whistleblower and over 40 municipalities and water districts. The case resulted in recoveries totaling nearly $60 million, including $39 million in November paid to 130 California public agencies.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power used its settlement to replace all 4 million of its leaded valves with lead-free valves. After the initial settlements, the California legislature passed a law that reduced the amount of lead allowed in water distribution parts to 0.25 percent as of 2010.
The litigation resulted in three ground-breaking California Court of Appeal opinions.
The recipients of the California Lawyer "Attorney of the Year" (CLAY) awards will be featured in the March 2010 issue of California Lawyer.
About Phillips & Cohen LLP
Phillips & Cohen is the nation's most experienced and most successful law firm representing whistleblowers in qui tam lawsuits. Whistleblower cases brought by the firm's lawyers have returned more than $5.3 billion in civil settlements and criminal penalties to government entities. For more information about Phillips & Cohen, qui tam lawsuits and the False Claims Act, see www.phillipsandcohen.com.