Colette G. Matzzie, a partner at Phillips & Cohen, represents whistleblowers in a wide variety of qui tam cases brought under the federal False Claims Act and similar state false claims laws.
Her practice includes pursuing fraud cases that involve healthcare fraud, defense contractor fraud and government procurement fraud as well as other types of wrongdoing involving recipients of federal and state funds.
Ms. Matzzie has been named one of the “500 Leading Lawyers in America” for the past nine years by Lawdragon magazine based on her work representing whistleblowers. She was recently seen on the CBS series, “Whistleblower,” which devoted an entire episode to two of her whistleblower cases.
Some of her more prominent cases are:
- A ground-breaking whistleblower case against eClinicalWorks, an electronic health records company, that alleged eCW falsely represented that its EHR system complied with federal “Meaningful Use” requirements and offered kickbacks to customers. The case settled for $155 million and was featured on the CBS series, “Whistleblower” (Episode 6).
- A qui tam case brought under the False Claims Act against Verizon Communications that resulted in a settlement of $93.5 million.
- A whistleblower case against Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), which paid $95 million to the government to settle allegations that BI marketed three of its drugs for “off-label” uses and paid kickbacks to boost sales.
- A whistleblower case against Sodexo involving illegal retention of “off-invoice rebates” paid by food vendors from public schools and universities that were in effect kickbacks. The $20 million settlement was the largest non-Medicaid fraud settlement under the New York False Claims Act.
- A qui tam whistleblower case against Chartwells, a school food services contractor, for allegedly serving poor quality or spoiled food to students and causing Washington, DC, public schools to pay millions more for the school meal program than it should have. The case settled for $19.4 million and was later the focus of an episode of the CBS series, “Whistleblower.” (Episode 6.)
...while we were suing on behalf of the government our goal was always to ensure quality school food programs for the kids.
- A whistleblower case brought by a doctor that resulted in stopping illegal importation of oncology drugs.
- Two path-breaking cases alleging submission of false claims for Social Security Disability benefits by two private disability insurers, the Unum Group and Cigna.
State legislatures should be considering ways they can encourage and reward whistle-blowers to help law enforcement, which will benefit all of their citizens, rather than enacting statutes that allow businesses to hide their criminal practices behind closed doors.
An experienced appellate litigator, Ms. Matzzie has played a lead role in litigation of whistleblower cases, arguing cases in the US District Courts and the US Courts of Appeals. Two notable victories include published decisions awarding whistleblower clients “relator shares” recognizing the whistleblower’s substantial contribution to the success of the qui tam action. She also assists counsel for other whistleblowers with qui tam litigation in the federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Ms. Matzzie has spoken at conferences on legal issues arising under the False Claims Act, healthcare and procurement fraud, and amendments to the qui tam law.
Prior to joining Phillips & Cohen, Ms. Matzzie served on the civil appellate staff of the US Department of Justice for five years. In addition, she served as a trial attorney on the Justice Department’s Tobacco Litigation team. From 1995 to 1999, Ms. Matzzie was a staff attorney with Public Citizen Litigation Group where she litigated cases concerning public health and safety, access to information, consumer protection, separation of powers and access to the civil justice system. She has served on the adjunct faculty at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching a seminar on “Public Interest Advocacy.”
Ms. Matzzie graduated magna cum laude from the Georgetown University Law Center. She was Senior Articles Editor of The Georgetown Law Journal. After graduating, she clerked for the Honorable Dolores K. Sloviter, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She is the 1995 recipient of the Frederick B. Abramson Public Service Award. She is a member of the US District Court for the District of Columbia; the US Court of Appeals for the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, DC and Federal Circuits; and the US Supreme Court.
Ms. Matzzie is a member of the District of Columbia bar.
- “The case against eClinicalWorks; the case against Chartwells” – CBS True Crime’s Whistleblower, S1 E6 – August 17, 2018
Watch an excerpt from Whistleblower, featuring Ms. Matzzie speaking about her client Brendan Delaney, whom she represented in the ground-breaking case against eClinicalWorks.
- “Deceased man’s estate files $1B suit against eClinicalWorks” – HealthcareDive
- “Whistleblower attorney expects more false claims lawsuits against EHR vendors” – Fierce Healthpayer – August 10, 2017
- “Feds fine eClinicalWorks $155M for EHR performance issues” – Health Data Management – June 1, 2017
- “eClinicalWorks whistleblower: NYC health department was indifferent to EHR flaws” – Healthcare IT News – May 31, 2017
- “Westborough health records vendor settles false-claims suit for $155M” – Boston Globe – May 31, 2017
- “Health records vendor settles false-claims lawsuit for $155M” – Associated Press – May 31, 2017
- “Feds levy $155M fine against software vendor for faulty patient records” – POLITICO – May 31, 2017
- “Supreme Court clarifies government contract fraud” – USA Today – June 16, 2016
- “HCA pays $2 million to settle whistleblower case over heart procedures” – Modern Healthcare – December 22, 2015
- “HCA to pay $2 million to settle whistleblower suit over heart surgeries” – Healthcare Finance – December 22, 2015
- “5 Things GCs Need To Know About Whistleblowers” – Law360 – May 27, 2015
- “Whistleblowers dodge disaster in Supreme Court’s KBR decision” – Reuters – May 27, 2015
- “150th Anniversary of the False Claims Act” – CSPAN – December 2, 2013
- “Ralph Nader to Canada: Don’t open door to Verizon” – Toronto Star – August 22, 2013
- “DOJ Intervenes in Whistleblower Suit Against Lance Armstrong” – Legal Times – February 22, 2013
- “Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals to Pay $95 Million to Settle False Claims Act Charge” – Corporate Crime Reporter – October 25, 2012
- “Whistleblower in Verizon Case Demands Bigger Cut of $93.5M Settlement” – Legal Times – June 22, 2011
Watch Ms. Matzzie talk about the False Claims Act on CSPAN:
- “Top 10 Takeaways From the EClinicalWorks Settlement” – HIStalk
- “Protecting Whistle-Blowers Against Retaliation” – New York Times (Letter to the Editor)
- “Stating a strong case for insurers using state whistleblower laws against fraudsters” – Journal of Insurance Fraud in America
- “Supreme Court Says No Free Pass for Qui Tam Defendants in False Claims Act Cases” – Law.com
- Recurring Issues in False Claims Act Litigation – Federal Judiciary Center – November 19, 2013
- Whistleblower Under the False Claims Act – HIMSS18 – March 2018
- False Claims Act Case Update – ABA Procurement Fraud Committee – Oct. 2017
- Handling Whistleblower Claims 2017: Rights of Private Sector Employees – District of Columbia Bar CLE – May 2017
- Procurement Fraud Committee – ABA Section of Public Contract Law – Feb. 2016
- “When the Whistle Blows: Trends and Developments in False Claims Act and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Liability and Enforcement” – Women of the Section Litigation Conference – November 2015
- Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund annual conferences – moderator and panelist on topics including “FCA 101,” “Developments in FCA Liability: Exploring Recent Scienter, Materiality, and Falsity Issues,” “Relator Share Issues,” “Update on ‘False Certification’ Issues,” and “The Evolving Role of the Relator: Opportunities and Challenges”
- “The Civil False Claims Act” – Boards of Contract Appeals Bar Association Annual Program – October 2014
- “False Claims, Investigations and Disclosures” – The Government Contracts Program, September 2014
- “A Civil War Relic Finds New Life: The Civil False Claims Act” – National Defense Industrial Association, May 2014
- Disability Rights Bar Association: “False Claims and Disability Rights,” April 19, 2013
- The Procurement Fraud Committee of the ABA Section of Public Contract Law, October 18, 2012
- “The 2009 FCA Amendments: Perspectives of Government and Relators’ Counsel,” 16th Annual Federal Procurement Institute, ABA Section of Public Contract Law, March 2010