When a client agency refers a case to the Department of Justice, CPB generally
receives the referral, and will either retain it or ask a United States
Attorney's Office (USAO) to handle the case. Frequently, CPB and the USAO
work jointly on these matters. However, USAOs sometimes receive cases directly
from investigative agencies without CPB's involvement. USAOs that receive
cases directly under any of the statutes discussed in this Monograph should
contact CPB when the case is received to obtain advice and assistance, and
to procure authorization to file the case.
CPB serves several valuable functions in such matters. First, CPB helps
ensure that USAOs do not overlook unique policy or factual concerns that
frequently affect litigation under CPB's statutes. Second, CPB ensures that
USAOs do not have to "reinvent the wheel" in conducting litigation, since
CPB already has jury instructions, briefs, and other pleadings to share.
Finally, CPB will obtain the Assistant Attorney General's approval that
is needed before filing cases under these statutes.
Moreover, litigation under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, in
particular, has important public health implications. This in turn makes
some cases under that statute of significant interest to the media, Congress,
or both. And because these cases involve a mix of scientific, medical, and
public health issues not present in most fraud cases, the interplay of those
considerations can create disagreement among concerned parties. For example,
distribution of an unapproved cancer cure can be outright fraud which the
Department is asked to, and should, prosecute. Yet desperate patients may
believe in the product and gain the sympathetic ear of the media to criticize
the government for taking away what the patient believes is a life-sustaining
CPB deals with such cases regularly, and can help USAOs handle them with
knowledge about many of these factors that may not be immediately apparent
when a case is referred.