Twelve Phillips & Cohen whistleblower attorneys selected for Lawdragon’s 2024 “Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers” list

June 4, 2024Lawdragon magazine has named 12 Phillips & Cohen partners to its 2024 list of the “500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers” for their outstanding achievements representing whistleblowers in False Claims Act (FCA) cases and cases before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Phillips & Cohen partners John Phillips, Mary Louise Cohen, Erika Kelton, Peter Chatfield, Colette Matzzie, Claire Sylvia, Stephen Hasegawa, Jeffrey Dickstein, Sean McKessy, Edward Arens, Amy Easton, and Chris Ehrman are included in Lawdragon’s 2024 list. This is the sixth year in a row at least ten partners have been honored by Lawdragon’s “500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers” list.

  • John Phillips, a co-founder of Phillips & Cohen, is the champion of the modern-day False Claims Act. His drive to reform the law helped make it the powerful fraud-fighting tool it is today. Mr. Phillips served as the U.S. Ambassador to Italy from 2013 to 2017. He is honored in Lawdragon’s “Hall of Fame.”
  • As a co-founder of Phillips & Cohen, Mary Louise Cohen has been dubbed “the Queen of Qui Tam” by Lawdragon for her work representing whistleblowers. Among her noteworthy cases is one against Quest Diagnostics which settled for $302 million– the largest amount paid by a medical lab company for a faulty product. In 2022, Cohen was inducted into Lawdragon’s “Hall of Fame.”
  • Erika Kelton has substantial experience representing FCA, SEC, and CFTC whistleblowers. She won two of the largest healthcare fraud settlements ever: $3 billion by GlaxoSmithKline and $2.3 billionby Pfizer. In 2022, Kelton had another record-setting year, including a combined SEC reward of over $40 million, likely the largest SEC whistleblower awards made to international whistleblowers. In 2023, Lawdragon magazine named Kelton a legal “legend.”
  • Peter Chatfield‘s successful whistleblower cases include 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. He also represented the first whistleblower to report and help prosecute the fraud for off-label marketing practices of man-made opioids. In that case, Cephalon Inc. paid $425 million to settle four qui tam lawsuits and a criminal charge. In 2023, Chatfield’s case against Labcorp settled for $2.1 million for alleged violations of the False Claims Act.
  • Colette Matzzie has represented whistleblowers in a number of significant qui tam lawsuits involving recoveries for federal and state governments, protecting patients and consumers alike. Her work includes a groundbreaking case against electronic health records vendor eClinicalWorks, which settled for $155 million. In 2023, Matzzie secured a $31 million settlement with electronic health records provider NextGen Healthcare, Inc. for alleged violations of the federal False Claims Act for improperly obtaining certification of versions of its EHR software among other alleged violations. Matzzie was named a LawdragonLegend” in 2022.
  • Claire Sylvia is a nationally recognized authority in False Claims Act qui tam matters. Her book, The False Claims Act: Fraud Against The Government (4th West 2023), has been an important reference since it was first published in 2004. Among her successes is a first-of-its-kind federal and state False Claims Act case involving cybersecurity issues, which Cisco Systems paid $8.6 million to resolve. In 2023, Sylvia and her colleagues represented the whistleblower in a case against UPMC, a teaching hospital in Pittsburgh, PA, that alleged improper billing for concurrent surgeries and settled for $8.5 million.
  • Stephen Hasegawa has had significant False Claims Act wins, including a case against Office Depot, which settled for $68.5 million, where more than 1,000 California cities, counties, school districts, and other government entities were allegedly overcharged for office supplies. In 2020, Hasegawa secured a $22.8 million settlement from Linde GmbH and its North American subsidiary for allegations the company evaded U.S. customs duties on materials it bought and imported to build chemical and natural gas plants. In 2023, Hasegawa settled another customs fraud case against KAP7 International, a retailer of water polo swimwear, accessories, and equipment.
  • Jeffrey Dickstein, a former Assistant US Attorney, brings more than 30 years of healthcare litigation experience to his work for whistleblowers in Medicare and Medicaid fraud cases. His successful cases include the $50 million settlement of a qui tam lawsuit against Wheeling Hospital in 2020.  In 2023, Dickstein helped secure a $22.48 million settlement against Martin’s Point Health Care Inc. for allegations the company violated the federal False Claims Act by knowingly submitting inaccurate diagnoses for patients enrolled in its Medicare Advantage Plans. The settlement is believed to be the largest in Maine under the False Claims Act.
  • Sean X. McKessy is the founding former Chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower. He represents whistleblowers and is considered one of the top authorities on corporate and securities whistleblower law. In 2022, McKessy secured a$20 million award for his client from the SEC, and in 2023, McKessy helped secure a $9 million reward for an SEC whistleblower client.
  • Edward Arens has success representing whistleblowers in large-scale whistleblower cases, including a 2023 settlement of $108.75 million against KBR Services, the largest cash settlement ever obtained in connection with Iraq War fraud. In 2023, Arens also secured a combined settlement of $95.5 million related to California’s Medicaid expansion program against CenCal Health, a California county organized health system (COHS), along with seven hospitals and clinics doing business with CenCal Health and a $29 million settlement with Lincare relating to oxygen equipment rental charges.
  • A former DOJ senior trial counsel, Amy Easton’s successes include representing a whistleblower against a West Virginia hospital for violating the Stark Law, Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act, yielding a $50 million settlement. In 2023, Easton helped secure a $22.48 million settlement against Martin’s Point Health Care Inc. for allegations the company violated the federal False Claims Act by knowingly submitting inaccurate diagnoses for patients enrolled in its Medicare Advantage Plans. The settlement is believed to be the largest in Maine under the False Claims Act.
  • Christopher Ehrman was the Director of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Whistleblower Office from 2013 until 2023. He served in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement as Assistant Director and in various other roles at the SEC for 14 years. Under his leadership at the CFTC, the whistleblower program achieved unparalleled success—with whistleblower awards totaling nearly $330 million and monetary sanctions from whistleblower tips exceeding $3 billion. Ehrman works on whistleblower cases before the CFTC and SEC for Phillips & Cohen’s whistleblower clients.

In 2023, Phillips & Cohen represented whistleblower clients whose cases were responsible for returning hundreds of millions of dollars to the U.S. Treasury, securing 13 settlements including eight healthcare fraud cases, two cases before the U.S. Securities Exchange CommissionFEMA-disaster relief fraud case, a case related to billing on Iraq War supplies, and a customs fraud settlement.  The aggregate settlement amounts of the 13 cases exceeded $370 million, with the majority of the funds going back to the U.S. Treasury. 

Lawdragon’s “500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers” list celebrates lawyers who excel in representing plaintiffs in securities, antitrust and whistleblower claims, and complex financial litigation and data privacy invasions. Lawdragon employs a combination of editorial research, law firm submissions, and a nomination system to select attorneys for its rankings.


Let us help you.
Get a free, confidential case review