Phillips & Cohen whistleblower attorneys named to “Top Lawyers” list in Washington, DC

Washington, DC, January 9, 2023— Washingtonian magazine has named four Phillips & Cohen partners –Peter Wilson Chatfield, Erika Kelton, Colette Matzzie, and Sean McKessy —to its 2022 “Top Lawyers” list.

The December issue of Washingtonian listed what it described as “Washington’s top legal talent in 16 practice specialties as voted by area lawyers.” The four Phillips & Cohen partners were included in the top lawyers for the whistleblower category. Phillips and Cohen’s attorneys represent whistleblowers under the False Claims Act (FCA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) whistleblower programs.

Whistleblower attorneys Chatfield, Kelton, Matzzie, and McKessy have had significant success representing whistleblowers, winning large settlements, and securing substantial rewards for their whistleblower clients. They also have a record of advocating for policies to improve whistleblower rights and protections.

  • Chatfield has nearly three decades of experience representing whistleblowers, including a qui tam case against HCA, one of the nation’s largest healthcare providers, which was the basis for a majority share of HCA’s $881 million settlement with the government. Also, Chatfield had a case featured in an episode of theCBS program Whistleblower, which told the story of the first whistleblower to report and help prosecute the fraud for off-label marketing practices of man-made opioids against pharmaceutical manufacturer Cephalon. In that case, Cephalon Inc. paid a total of $425 million to settle four qui tam lawsuits and a criminal charge.
  • Kelton is an internationally recognized whistleblower lawyer with more than three decades of experience representing whistleblowers.  She won nine Dodd-Frank awards for her clients through the SEC and CFTC whistleblower programs–more than any other lawyer.  In 2022, Kelton won a whistleblower award for a combined $40 million from the SEC for international clients, likely the largest SEC award made ever to international whistleblowers. She won a record-setting settlement from GlaxoSmithKline for $3 billion, which was featured on the BBC’s show Portfolio. Kelton also won a case against Pfizer for illegally marketing the painkiller, Bextra, which Pfizer paid $1.8.billion to settle and was the subject of an episode of CNBC’s show American Greed.  She won another SEC award of more than $32 million, the largest SEC whistleblower reward at the time of the settlement.
  • Matzzie has more than a decade of experience representing whistleblowers, including securing ground-breaking settlements against electronic health record companies. She won a record-setting settlement against eClinicalWorks, an electronic health records company, that allegedly falsely represented that its EHR system complied with federal requirements and offered kickbacks to customers. The case settled for $155 million and was featured on the CBS series, “Whistleblower”. In 2022, Matzzie won a settlement against Modernizing Medicine (ModMed), a provider of cloud-based electronic health records (EHR) systems, that agreed to pay $45 million to the federal government to settle the whistleblower lawsuit.
  • McKessy represents clients interested in submitting tips under the SEC, CFTC, and other regulatory whistleblower programs. In 2022, McKessy won a client a $20 million award from the SEC. This was the fourth client represented by McKessy to receive an award in the last year. Prior to joining P&C, he served as the first Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower and was the principal architect of the SEC whistleblower program. Under his leadership, the SEC Office of the Whistleblower was authorized by the Commission to pay whistleblower awards totaling nearly $100 million – a record-setting pace for a government whistleblower reward program. The SEC recovered more than $500 million in sanctions as a result of whistleblowers’ information and assistance during his tenure.

Washingtonian bases its “Top Lawyers” list on a survey of nearly 1,000 DC-area attorneys for input on who “they consider best among their peers.” Washingtonian then undertakes additional research and reporting to put together the final list.

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