Mary Louise Cohen
Mary Louise Cohen, a founding partner of Phillips & Cohen LLP, has been called the “queen of qui tam” and recognized as one of the "500 Leading Lawyers in America" and “a legend for creating [the] qui tam/whistleblower practice.”
She has represented whistleblowers for more than 25 years in successful “qui tam” (whistleblower) lawsuits brought under the False Claims Act. Some of her most significant cases include:
- A whistleblower case that was key to the government winning an $875 million settlement by TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc.
- The qui tam case that launched the federal government's LabScam investigation into billing practices of medical testing labs. A series of Medicare billing fraud cases filed on behalf of whistleblowers by Ms. Cohen and her firm against hospital and independent laboratories returned more than $200 million to the Treasury. (Her case and others brought by Phillips & Cohen were the basis of Giantkillers: The Team and the Law that Help Whistle-blowers Recover America's Stolen Billions, published by Atlantic Monthly Press.)
- A qui tam lawsuit against a Medtronic subsidiary and more than 100 hospitals alleging a fraudulent Medicare billing scheme, which led to a nationwide enforcement effort that has recovered nearly $150 million for taxpayers.
- A qui tam lawsuit on behalf of two emergency room doctors against HCA, which paid $95 million to settle allegations of Medicare billing fraud.
- A whistleblower case against General Electric for defense contract fraud, which GE paid the federal government $59.5 million to settle.
- A precedent-setting case that sharply boosted a whistleblower client’s award from the government and won a court decision now used as a basis for other whistleblower reward cases.
Ms. Cohen received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 for her work on whistleblower cases from Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund, a nonprofit whistleblower organization. Lawdragon has named her one of the "500 Leading Lawyers in America" several times on its annual list, most recently for 2014-2015. She also was included on “Best Lawyers” 2015 list and previous lists for Washington, DC.
Ms. Cohen graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1977, where she was a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. From 1977 to 1981, she was an associate in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington D.C.
Before specializing in representing whistleblowers, Ms. Cohen spent many years in public service positions. She served as counsel and chief counsel to the Subcommittee on Juvenile Justice of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee from 1981 to 1984. The following two years, she served as Legislative Director for a major public interest group in Washington, DC. From 1986 to 1988, she served as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Monopolies and Business Rights.
Ms. Cohen co-founded The Batonga Foundation to support secondary education for African girls and the Aslan Project to improve survival for children with cancer in the developing world. She was a 2014 fellow at Harvard University’s Advanced Leadership Initiative.
Areas of Practice
- Whistleblower/Qui Tam
- Government Agencies & Programs
- Government Contracts
- Health & Health Care Law
- Whistleblower -- Employee
- Tax Law
- Securities Law
- California, 1989
- Harvard University Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts - 1977
- Honors: Cum Laude
- Honors: Member, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau
- "False Claims Can Result in Prison Time, Fines," (Co-Authored with John R. Phillips), Health Risk Management, June, 1997
- "Failure to Disclose Medicare Overpayments or Accurate Information Can Result in Jail Time for False Claims," (Co-Authored with John R. Phillips), Health Fraud Litigation Reporter, June, 1997
- "Failing to Report Medicare Billing Errors: A very Risky Business," (Co-Authored with John R. Phillips), New Perspectives (Journal of the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors), Spring, 1997
- "Civil War-Era Law Attacking False Medicare Claims," (Co-Authored with John R. Phillips), Healthcare Risk Management, March, 1997
- "How to Avoid Liability Under the False Claim Act," (Co-Authored with John R. Phillips), American Medical News, February, 1997
Honors and Awards
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Taxpayers Against Fraud, 2013
- Washington’s Best Lawyers, 2013
- "500 Leading Lawyers in America", Lawdragon, 2008
Past Employment Positions
- United States Senate Judiciary Committee, Juvenile Justice Subcommittee, Counsel, Chief Counsel, 1981 - 1984
- Senate Judicial Committee, Antitrust, Monopolies and Business Rights Subcommittee, Counsel, 1986 - 1988