The Civil Division is responsible for representing the federal government and its agencies and employees in civil litigation in the District. Civil Division AUSAs represent the United States at both the trial and appellate levels. It is normal practice for the same AUSA to carry a case from investigation through the District Court and on to the Ninth Circuit. The Civil Division is divided into five sections: General Civil, Financial Litigation, Civil Fraud, Civil Rights and Civil Appeals.
The General Civil Section defends civil actions brought against the United States, its agencies, and its employees and brings certain affirmative civil actions to protect federal property and enforce federal laws. The Financial Litigation Section recovers debt owed to the United States and victims of federal crimes pursuant to civil and criminal judgments. The Civil Fraud Section investigates and litigates civil False Claims Act cases involving fraud on the United States and civil penalty cases involving a broad variety of government programs. The Civil Rights Section enforces federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination, protect constitutional rights and ensure equal opportunity. The Civil Appeals Section handles appeals involving Civil Division cases.
Dorothy Schouten is the Chief of the Civil Division. Dorothy graduated from UCLA and the USC Gould School of Law. In 1977, Dorothy joined the Federal Trade Commission Los Angeles Regional Office as a Staff Attorney in the Antitrust Division. During that time, she was a team co-leader for investigations of price-fixing in the food industry and mergers and acquisitions of major drugstores.
In 1981, Dorothy joined the McKenna law firm (now merged with other law firms), eventually becoming a partner and assistant chair for the litigation section. While at McKenna, Dorothy represented major banking institutions, mortgage guaranty corporations, and government contractors in state and federal court litigation involving contracts, antitrust, acquisitions, mortgage fraud, employment discrimination and the False Claims Act.
Dorothy joined the Office in 1991 in the Civil Fraud Section, and was part of the team that obtained a $5 million judgment in a False Claims Act case against Litton Industries. In 1994, she joined the General Civil Section, defending the United States and its agencies and agents in most types of tort claims, civil rights violations claims (including excessive force and due process), and employment discrimination claims in dispositive motions, at trials and on appeals.
In 1997, Dorothy was appointed Senior Litigation Counsel in the General Civil Section, with a focus on employment discrimination litigation. In 2002, Dorothy was appointed Chief of Civil Appeals, directly supervising all Civil Division cases on appeal. For a period of time in the mid-2000s, her duties also included supervision of both Civil and Criminal Division AUSAs in hundreds of appellate Petitions For Review arising from proceedings before the Board of Immigration Appeals. Dorothy has also taught appellate and immigration courses at the National Advocacy Center.
In 2011, in addition to her duties as Civil Appeals Chief, Dorothy -- along with others in the Civil Division -- brought a civil Financial Institutions, Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) case against an individual defendant in connection with a foreclosure rent skimming scheme involving hundreds of properties and fraudulent bankruptcies and thousands of false statements to individuals, financial institutions and courts. In 2013, Dorothy received EOUSA Director's Awards and Council of the Inspectors General Awards for Excellence in connection with the resulting $5 million civil penalties judgment.
Division Contact Information
Chief, Civil Division
Office of the United States Attorney
300 N. Los Angeles Street, 7th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Report a Civil Rights Violation to the Civil Division
Contact the Civil Rights Unit by sending an e-mail to USACAC.CV-CivilRights@usdoj.gov
Download the Civil Rights Complaint Form.