Phillips & Cohen's expertise with whistleblower cases - including those brought under the qui tam provisions oft he False Claims Act and claims filed with the Internal Revenue Service, Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commssion whistleblower reward programs -- is well recognized in the media. Below are excerpts from stories where Phillips & Cohen attorneys have been quoted about various whistleblower programs and whistleblower issues.
News articles about Phillips & Cohen's whistleblower cases are listed on a separate page.
"Utah's largest health company pays $25.5 mln in FCA settlement," Thomson Reuters News & Insight, 4/4/13.
"Such self-reporting of potential conflicts to the government is unusual, said John R. Phillips, an attorney with Phillips & Cohen who has worked with the U.S. Congress to revise the False Claims Act and who was not involved in the Intermountain case. . . . 'The False Claims Act has encouraged some companies to come forward, especially when they have a strong suspicion an investigation is being filed,' Phillips said."
"Walk, Don't Run - Experts Advise Prudence and Caution for Potential Whistleblowers," CFA Institute Magazine, March/April 2013.
"DO make sure that you really want to file a whistleblower claim. 'Once it's filed, it sets in motions something that you cannot stop,' says Erika Kelton, partner in the Washington, DC, law office of Phillips & Cohen. "It's important to thoroughly reflect on, and be prepared to do this and assess how long it will take, what to expect, how disruptive to your life this can be, and what risks you are taking.'"
"Tax Court Scrutinizes Whistleblower Office's Delayed Decision," Tax Analysts, March 14, 2013.
"Erika A. Kelton of Phillips & Cohen LLP told Tax Analysts that the Insinga order is important because 'the Tax Court shows it is open to a more common sense approach than the IRS has often been willing to take -- i.e., considering whether there is a "de facto" rejection, rather than simply a formal "technical" rejection.' Also, the possibility of jurisdiction under the APA is encouraging because 'that could be very helpful for future challenges to agency delay and inaction,' she said."
"Armstrong Said to Face U.S in Landis Whistleblower Suit," Businessweek, 2/22/13.
"'Typically when the government joins the case it is resolved in a way that results in a recovery for the government,'" John Phillips of Phillips & Cohen LLP in Washington, who has litigated whistle-blower cases since 1986, said in an interview. He said the government only joins about 25 percent of cases filed under the False Claims Act."
"Government Joins Suit Against Armstrong," The New York Times, 2/22/13.
To win the case, the government must prove that it was damaged by the violation of the contract, said Eric R. Havian, a lawyer at Phillips & Cohen and an expert in False Claims Act cases.
"They have to say, look, the Postal Service didn't get what we bargained for, you gave us a black eye because of the doping, and that's a legitimate case," Havian said.
U.S. Sues Disgraced Cyclist Armstrong for Sponsor Money - Reuters, 2/22/13.
The government joins 20 to 25 percent of all False Claims Act suits filed, and the government almost always wins the cases it joins, said John Phillips, who represents whistleblowers at the Phillips & Cohen law firm.
"That's a very good sign for the case: that the government after its own investigation, after looking at all the facts and the law, has decided to join the case," said Phillips, who is not involved in the Armstrong case.
"DOJ Intervenes in Whistleblower Suit Against Lance Armstrong," Legal Times, 2/22/13.
"'The United States invests considerable resources in the investigation of cases, interviewing witnesses and reviewing documents, to consider the validity of the claim by the whistleblower,' said Colette Matzzie of the whistleblower firm Phillips & Cohen in Washington. 'It's a lengthy internal deliberative process for the government.' Matzzie said DOJ's intervention can be viewed as a validation of Landis' claims."
"California AG's false claims case vs S&P: secret route to issuers?" ThomsonReuters News & Insight - On the Case, 2/11/13.
"The unseen target of California's suit, according to whistle-blower lawyer Eric Havian of Phillips & Cohen, could be MBS and CDO issuers.
"Discovery in the state's case against S&P, Havian said, will likely turn up evidence of what banks knew about the ratings S&P supplied. 'If issuers knew the ratings were false and they sold securities to state pension funds, they would absolutely be liable,' he said. 'That's an easy FCA case.'"
"Erika Kelton on the Rise of SEC Whistleblower Cases," Corporate Crime Reporter, 2/5/13.
"Erika Kelton is a partner at Phillips & Cohen in Washington, D.C. She's a pro at bringing whistleblower cases.
"She has a couple of billion-dollar-plus False Claims Act qui tam cases under her belt . . . . But a significant amount of her caseload is now SEC/CFTC and tax cases."
"Floyd Landis whistleblower suit targets more than Lance Armstrong," The Washington Post, 1/17/13.
"False Claims Act whistleblower suits, which date from the Civil War era, are a mechanism for encouraging someone with information about fraud against the government - oftentimes an 'nsider' in a case of wrongdoing - to come forward, explains Peter Chatfield of Washington-based Phillips & Cohen, which specializes in such cases.
"The plaintiff's reward is a percentage of the money that's recovered - 15-25 percent if the U.S. Department of Justice joins the action and takes the lead role in the case, or 25-30 percent if the private plaintiff pursues the case without the government's help or resources, Chatfield said."
"Rajat's moment of truth - ex-Goldman Sachs honcho awaits sentencing," The Pioneer (India), 10/25/12.
"But the proposal for leniency for Gupta is not without its critics. Writing in Forbes magazine, Erika Kelton, a partner at Phillips & Cohen, the well-known law firm representing whistleblowers, argues that the proposal for community service, if accepted, could set 'a disturbing precedent.'
'Gupta's request would be laughable if it didn't indicate the mindset of Wall Street,' she writes, adding: 'When a deal goes bad, the thinking goes, let's try to talk our way out or write new rules, so the dealmakers can still come out on top or at least suffer minimal losses.'
"The Plaintiffs' Hot List," National Law Journal, 10/1/12.
". . . We asked our readers to nominate firms that have done exemplary, cutting edge work on the plaintiffs side. We looked for firms that scored at least one significant plaintiffs win between June 30, 2011 and July 1, 2012, and that possessed and impressive track record of wins within the past three to five years."
"Coming one year after the SEC launched its program in August 2011, the first reward signals the SEC is acting quickly and aggressively to encourage whistleblowers, says Erika Kelton, an attorney specializing in representing whistleblowers at Phillips & Cohen, in Washington, D.C.
'This payout is critical to show whistleblowers that this is a robust, functioning program,' says Kelton, 'and it's operating very well. A one-year turnaround is exceptional.'"
"The price whistleblowers pay for secrets," The New York Times, 9/21/12.
"'It's a life-changing experience,' said John R. Phillips, founder of the law firm Phillips & Cohen and the man credited with devising the amendments that strengthened the government anti-fraud law, the False Claims Act, in 1986."
"Report and be damned: an American whistleblower's story," The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 8/28/12.
"Erika Kelton, an American attorney at Phillips & Cohen with significant experience, believes that the most important lesson from Asadi's case is that employees are not always better off voicing their complaints internally.
'If Asadi had reported first to the SEC, things could have been different,' Kelton said from Washington."
"Google 'whistleblower' and you'll see this website for Phillips and Cohen in Washington, which has won billions of dollars in suits, including a $3 billion suit against Glaxo this year over 'off-label' marketing of Advair, Wellbutrin and other drugs. The firm was also involved in litigation against HCA."
"John Phillips the False Claims Act and how to save $500 billion," Corporate Crime Reporter, 8/6/12.
Phillips & Cohen founding partner John R. Phillips "says that the law has recovered close to $50 billion for the U.S. Treasury. And [roughly] twenty percent of that . . . has been recovered by cases brought by his firm -- Phillips & Cohen."
"'Til selfish gain no longer stain the banner of the free," International Bar Association, 8/1/12.
"According to Eric Havian, a whistleblower specialist with the San Francisco office of Phillips & Cohen, 'the entire securities industry is extremely frightened of new whistleblower legislation portion of Dodd-Frank, and its financial incentive to expose financial fraud.'"
"IRS sets timeline for action on whistleblower claims," Tax Notes Today, 6/22/12.
"Erika A. Kelton of Phillips & Cohen LLP said that Senate Finance Committee member Chuck Grassley, R. Iowa, deserves most of the credit for the change. 'His forceful advocacy for the IRS whistleblower program and his unrelenting criticism of the IRS for its failure to take advantage of such a promising enforcement program has yielded positive results,' she said."
"Companies prod SEC on whistleblower proposal," The Wall Street Journal, 2/11/11.
"Lawyers for whistleblowers counter that requiring internal reporting would kill the program by discouraging would-be tipsters from coming forward for fear of being identified.
'If mandated internal reporting were required it would be like turning off the tap,' of whistleblower tips, said Erika Kelton of law firm Phillips & Cohen LLP.'"
"Firms face sudden rush of whistleblower claims," Corporate Counsel, 9/9/10.
". . . Erika Kelton, partner at the plaintiffs' powerhouse Phillips & Cohen in Washington, D.C., agreed that the outpouring [of SEC whistleblowers] is huge. . . . Kelton was the lead attorney for a whistleblower suit against Pfizer Inc., which paid a record-setting $2.3 billion in mid-2009 to settle civil and criminal charges for using illegal sales tactics."
"Larger bounties spur surge in fraud tips," Wall Street Journal, 9/7/10.
"The SEC is offering some protections for informants. . . . These features, combined with the guaranteed minimum payout for whistle-blowers who qualify, are encouraging insiders to step forward, said Erika Kelton of Phillips & Cohen LLP."
"SEC Now Offering Big Payoffs To Whistle-Blowers," Time, 8/19/10.
"Money can be 'extraordinarily effective' in getting people to blow the whistle when they see fraud, says John Phillips, whose law firm Phillips & Cohen LLP specializes in whistleblower cases."
"In the past, the SEC's whistleblowing program was limited to insider trading cases and offered only small discretionary, rather than mandatory, rewards ranging from 0 to 10% of the money recovered. 'It was completely ineffectual, completely discretionary,' says Phillips."
"Health-Fraud Whistleblower Cases May Surge Because of Federal Law Overhaul," Bloomberg, 7/28/10.
"'Generally, the trend is up, up, up and more, more, more,' said Erika A. Kelton, a Washington-based attorney for Phillips & Cohen LLP. She represented John Kopchinski, a former Pfizer salesman, in a so-called qui tam, or whistleblower, lawsuit against the New York-based company that yielded the $1 billion settlement."
"Financial reform law includes big cash incentives for whistle-blowers," Los Angeles Times, 7/23/10.
"The new SEC whistleblower program 'is very significant and will have an immediate impact,' said Erika Kelton, a Washington lawyer who has represented whistle-blowers. 'It will motivate knowledgeable insiders to step forward and tell the enforcement agencies what they know. It is the secret weapon in this massive bill.'
"Whistleblowers motivated by integrity, study says," Main Justice, 5/13/10.
"Phillips & Cohen LLP's Erika Kelton, who has represented several whistleblowers, including a sales representative in an illegal marketing case against Pfizer Inc. that settled last year for $1.8 billion, said in a statement that the study tracked closely with her experience.
'People often turn to us after they have been fired or have raised their concerns with management but nothing changes. Typically, whistleblowers decide to file a 'qui tam' lawsuit as a last resort,' she said. 'Most are motivated more by exposing wrongdoing and stopping what are often harmful or dangerous practices than by any hope for a reward.'"
"Tattling for dollars; The growing ranks of IRS informants," Daily Finance, 5/8/10.
"Erika Kelton, a partner at Phillips & Cohen who represents whistleblowers, says the IRS has received information from informants that it wouldn't have obtained otherwise. She notes that over three years, thousands have cases have been filed, dozens of which are valued at over $100 million, adding, 'The IRS can only be at so many places at once.'"