The Civil Division is called upon to defend the United States, its agencies or officials in a wide range of cases. These actions pertain to torts (medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, negligence by government agencies or officials), federal officials sued in their individual capacity for constitutional violations under the Bivens rule, employment discrimination (race, sex, national origin, age, disability, reprisal, sexual orientation, sexual harassment), environmental, bankruptcy, state court foreclosures, Native American matters, Social Security appeals, subpoenas issued to federal employees for testimony in state courts, suits seeking injunctive relief, review of administrative agency action, and tax litigation.
Financial Litigation Unit
The collections component of the Civil Division has the primary responsibility of handling debt collection and affirmative claim litigation. The Financial Litigation Unit cooperates with the Court Clerk's Office and the United States Probation Office to assist in the collection of criminal fines, restitution and special assessments. The U.S. Attorney continues to emphasize the importance of the imposition and collection of criminal monetary obligations. The Financial Litigation Unit also has the primary responsibility for enforcing the collection of civil debts owing to the United States and victims of crime from a wide variety of sources.
Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE)
A growing factor in the Department's increased civil recoveries is the Affirmative Civil Enforcement program, which pursues the civil aspect of cases in which there has been a false claim or statement made to the United States, or where the public health, welfare or safety has been threatened. These cases are brought in lieu of, or in addition to, criminal prosecution and encompass a broad range of enforcement actions pursuant to various statutes.
The goal of the Civil Division is to fairly achieve the maximum amount of recovery with the least amount of cost for each affirmative claim or debt, consistent with applicable laws, regulations, policies and other governmental interests. Most of the dollars recovered will be returned to the victims and defrauded agencies. However, three percent of the dollars recovered from civil judgments are deposited into a special Department of Justice fund which is used to purchase the physical resources needed to support future collection efforts by the Financial Litigation Units in all U.S. Attorney offices.
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