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Eric R. Havian

San Francisco

E-mail MeEric R. Havian

San Francisco, California

Eric R. Havian has extensive experience and success representing whistleblowers, for which he has received national recognition.

The National Law Journal named Mr. Havian a Top 10 "Winning" attorney in 2008 for his work representing whistleblowers. And California Lawyer magazine selected him in 2010 for its “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year” award for a record-setting “qui tam” whistleblower case he brought against Northrop Grumman.

Mr. Havian’s experience as a former Assistant U.S. Attorney combined with more than 15 years of specializing in whistleblower cases make him a valuable advocate. He represents whistleblowers in defense contractor cases and other qui tam lawsuits; whistleblower claims under the Internal Revenue Service program; and claims under the whistleblower reward programs at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission set up by the Dodd-Frank law.

His record-setting qui tam case against Northrop Grumman settled for $325 million. It was the largest settlement ever paid by a defense contractor in a whistleblower case and the second largest settlement involving defense contractor fraud. The American Lawyer featured a story about the Northrop settlement, saying, "The real winner was the whistle-blower in the False Claims Act case, Robert Ferro, and his lawyer, Eric Havian at Phillips & Cohen."

In a previous qui tam lawsuit against Northrop Grumman handled by Mr. Havian, the aerospace contractor settled for $111 million.

Mr. Havian also has worked with numerous local governments, including the County of Los Angeles and the City of San Francisco, to pursue state False Claims Act cases against companies for fraud. One of his more prominent wins was serving as lead counsel representing Los Angeles County agencies in a trial that won a $223 million verdict against an electric utility for overcharging its government customers.

In a separate qui tam case brought under the California False Claims Act, 130 California public agencies recovered nearly $60 million from companies that allegedly had provided to numerous California water supply systems valves and other parts that contained excessive lead. The litigation resulted in three ground-breaking California Court of Appeal opinions.

Based on surveys of lawyers and other information, Mr. Havian was named one of the "500 Leading Lawyers in America" by LawDragon and has been included in Super Lawyers' annual list of the Top 5 percent of the lawyers in Northern California from 2004-2013. He recently was named to "Who's Who in America" for 2014.

Mr. Havian is a frequent speaker at confer ences on the False Claims Act, qui tam lawsuits and the IRS, SEC and CFTC whistleblower programs and is often quoted in the media on those topics. He has published articles about whistleblowing, government contract fraud and the Dodd-Frank SEC whistleblower program.

Mr. Havian graduated cum laude in 1981 from Harvard Law School, where he and his team won the Ames Moot Court Competition.

He was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco from 1987 through 1994 and was the lead prosecutor for defense procurement fraud cases. During his tenure, Mr. Havian prosecuted numerous multi-million dollar cases of fraud against the federal government.

Before joining the U.S. Attorney's Office, Mr. Havian was a litigation associate at the San Francisco office of Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe, where he practiced complex litigation.

Mr. Havian is bar-qualified in California. He has taught courses on fraud at Stanford Law School and at the University of California School of Law (Boalt Hall). He has been a guest lecturer at Hastings College of the Law and has taught various seminars to assistant U.S. attorneys at the Attorney General's Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. He is a former co-chair of the American Bar Association Health Law Litigation Committee.


Areas of Practice

  • Whistleblower/Qui Tam
  • Government Agencies & Programs
  • Government Contracts
  • Health & Health Care Law
  • Whistleblower -- Employee
  • Tax Law
  • Securities Law

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1981


  • Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts - 1981
    • Honors: cum laude
    • Honors: Ames Moot Court Competition

Published Works

  • "Blowing the Whistle on Fraud,", Contract Management, October, 2001
  • "Environment is New Target of Qui Tam Lawsuits" (Co-Authored with Lisa Foster), Toxics Law Reporter, September, 2000

Representative Clients

  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of San Francisco


  • Speaker, False Claims Act and Qui Tam Lawsuits
  • Instructor, Fraud, Stanford Law School
  • Instructor, Fraud, University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law
  • Guest Lecturer, Hastings College of the Law
  • Instructor, Attorney General's Advocacy Institute, Washington, D.C.

Honors and Awards

  • "500 Leading Lawyers in America"

Past Employment Positions

  • U.S. Attorney's Office, Criminal Division, San Francisco, Assistant United States Attorney, 1987 - 1994
  • Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe, San Francisco, Litigation Associate