Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Civil Division of the United States Attorney's Office represent the United States, federal agencies, and federal personnel in civil matters and cases.
The majority of the cases handled by the Civil Division involve litigation relating to the implementation of federal programs; allegations of employment discrimination by federal agencies; damages claims for personal injuries and wrongful death (including medical malpractice cases); appeals from denials of Social Security disability benefits; and suits by federal prisoners complaining about conditions of confinement. Civil Division attorneys also frequently represent the Immigration and Naturalization Service in cases challenging deportation decisions.
The Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) program is part of the Civil Division. Two common types of cases in the ACE program are False Claims Act (FCA) cases and civil environmental enforcement cases. The FCA provides remedies where false claims have been submitted to obtain federal funds, such as fraudulent claims by contractors and vendors. The Department of Justice delegates some civil environmental enforcement matters, such as claims for violations of the Clean Air Act or Clean Water Act, to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the ACE program represent the interests of the United States in qui tam ("whistleblower") actions.
The Financial Litigation Unit (FLU) collects money owed the United States and victims of crime from various sources, including: fines, special assessments, restitution, costs and penalties owed by criminal defendants; defaults on government loans made or insured by the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Farm Service Agency; overpayments to beneficiaries of programs such as Social Security, Veterans Affairs and Medicare; bankruptcy debtors; damages and penalties resulting from civil fraud prosecutions; environmental fines and penalties; and other civil penalties.
In Bankruptcy Court, the Civil Division represents the interests of government creditors such as the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture and the Small Business Administration.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
The United States Attorney's Office does not represent private citizens, and Assistant United States Attorneys are not authorized to provide legal opinions or legal advice to private citizens. Persons seeking legal advice can frequently obtain help from a local bar association such as the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association's lawyer referral service.
Consumer complaints about products, services and businesses, should be addressed to agencies such as the Missouri Attorney General's consumer protection hotline, 800-392-8222.
Lawsuits against the United States and federal agencies are commenced by filing a complaint in the appropriate United States District Court, and then serving process as prescribed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 4(i).
Tort claims for personal injuries or property damage must be presented to the appropriate agency for determination before a lawsuit can be filed against the United States. For example, a personal injury claim arising from a fall in a post office must first be presented to the United States Postal Service. Forms for submitting such claims are available from the agencies.
Parties to litigation not involving the United States must follow the procedures set forth in 28 C.F.R. § 16.21, et seq, to obtain testimony from employees of the Department of Justice. Other federal agencies have similar regulations. Persons seeking information from federal agencies should make requests to the appropriate agency under the Freedom of Information Act.
To contact the Civil Division, call 1-800-733-6558, or locally in Kansas City call 816-426-3122, and ask to speak to Deputy United States Attorney Tom Larson.