Law.com’s Sue Reisigner quotes Phillips & Cohen partner Erika Kelton in her story about whistleblower’s rights to bring retaliation claims against their employer.
Phillips & Cohen attorney Erika Kelton remembers first becoming involved with a whistleblower suit when she worked on a case brought in 1988 against a company that overcharged the government for flight simulators over eight years.
The case settled for $55.5 million, with the whistleblower splitting a $7.5 million award in 1992. Kelton was one year out of law school, and whistleblower cases were sparse then. But she was “hooked.”
She later became interested in financial fraud whistleblowers in the mid-90s, “and once the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed [in 2010] we [Phillips & Cohen] jumped in with both feet, adding attorneys and a couple partners.”
Many misconduct cases in health care, pharmaceuticals and defense contracting are still brought under the False Claims Act, says Kelton. But since Dodd-Frank was enacted she says the growth has been “explosive” in fraud cases generally brought under the SEC and CFTC programs.
She says her Washington D.C.-based law firm, one of the largest serving whistleblowers, added eight new associates, three of counsel and two lateral partners during the past six years. And it expanded its offices from three to six, with additions in New York, Miami and London.
Kelton notes the growing number of international clients at her firm. “The nature of securities and commodities laws gives the SEC and CFTC global reach,” she explains. In fact, she says, in 2014 the largest SEC whistleblower award thus far, $32 million, went to one of her clients, an anonymous international whistleblower.