Mary Louise Cohen, a founding partner of Phillips & Cohen LLP, has been called the “queen of qui tam.”
She is 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.
- A case against Quest Diagnostics that resulted in the largest settlement ever paid by a medical lab company for a faulty product ($302 million).
- 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 $180 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 repeatedly named her one of the “500 Leading Lawyers in America.” In 2017, Ms. Cohen was selected as one of Martindale-Hubbell’s 2017 “Top Rated Lawyers.” She has also been included on several “Best Lawyers” lists and lists for Washington, DC, most recently for 2018.
Mary Louise Cohen was an early pioneer of False Claims Act litigation, bringing some of the first and largest FCA cases ever won or settled.
Ms. Cohen graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, 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 is a co-founder of Talent Beyond Boundaries, which provides a private sector-driven solution to employ skilled refugees. She also 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.
- “A better road for whistleblowers” – The New York Times
- “How to avoid liability under the False Claims Act” – American Medical News
- “Failing to report Medicare billing errors: A very risky business” – New Perspectives, Journal of the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors
- “Women in Law” – Best Lawyers, 2021
- “Legends of the 500” – Lawdragon, 2021
- “Best Lawyers in America” – Best Lawyers, 2021
- “500 Leading Lawyers in America” – Lawdragon, 2013-2021
- “500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers” – Lawdragon, 2019, 2020
- “Top Lawyers” – Washingtonian Magazine, 2020
- Super Lawyers, 2009-2019
- “Lifetime Achievement Award” – Taxpayers Against Fraud Education fund, 2013