Colette G. Matzzie 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 against pharmaceutical and medical device companies, hospitals and home health care providers, defense contractors, and a wide variety of recipients of federal and state funds.
Ms. Matzzie has been named one of the “500 Leading Lawyers in America” for the past five years by Lawdragon magazine based on her work representing whistleblowers.
Some of her more prominent cases are:
- 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.
- 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, DC and Federal Circuits; and the US Supreme Court.
Ms. Matzzie is a member of the District of Columbia bar.
- “Supreme Court clarifies government contract fraud” – USA Today
- “HCA pays $2 million to settle whistleblower case over heart procedures” – Modern Healthcare
- “HCA to pay $2 million to settle whistleblower suit over heart surgeries” – Healthcare Finance
- “5 Things GCs Need To Know About Whistleblowers” – Law360
- “Whistleblowers dodge disaster in Supreme Court’s KBR decision” – Reuters
- “150th Anniversary of the False Claims Act” – CSPAN
- “Ralph Nader to Canada: Don’t open door to Verizon” – Toronto Star
- “DOJ Intervenes in Whistleblower Suit AGainst Lance Armstrong” – Legal Times
- “Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals to Pay $95 Million to Settle False Claims Act Charge” – Corporate Crime Reporter
- “Whistleblower in Verizon Case Demands Bigger Cut of $93.5M Settlement” – Legal Times
Watch Ms. Matzzie talk about the False Claims Act on CSPAN:
- “Protecting Whistle-Blowers Against Retaliations” – 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
- Speaking at the Procurement Fraud Committe – ABA Section of Public Contract Law – Feb. 2016 (Upcoming)
- Taxpayers Against Fraud Conference – Sept. 2016
- When the Whistle Blows: Trends and Developments in False Claims Act and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Liability and Enforcements – Women of the Section Litigation Conference – November 2015
- Moderator and panelist at Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund Conferences on topics including “FCA 101”, “Developments in FCA Liability: Exploring Recent Scienter, Materiality, and Falsity Issues,” “Relators 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