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Complex and Defensive Litigation Section

Section Overview

The Complex and Defensive Litigation Section defends civil actions brought against the United States, its agencies, and its employees, bearing the dual responsibilities of protecting public funds and supporting justice. These actions include a wide variety of tort cases, such as medical malpractice and Constitutional tort cases; cases alleging discrimination in hiring and employment practices by agencies of the United States; immigration; bankruptcy; breach of contract; property disputes, judicial review of administrative decisions; and injunctive proceedings. In addition, the Complex and Defensive Litigation Section brings certain affirmative civil penalty and injunctive relief actions to protect federal property and enforce federal laws, including environmental laws and fire cost recovery.

Human-caused fires are a serious threat to life and property within the Central District of California. Federal fire-fighting agencies spend millions of dollars each year to suppress wildland fires in our district. The Affirmative Wildland Fire Cost Recovery Program within the Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office seeks to recover the costs the federal government incurs in suppressing wildland fires, and to recover damages caused to public resources by fires. The Affirmative Wildland Fire Cost Recovery Program has recovered almost $30 million in the past two years, and over $100 million since its inception. The U.S. Forest Service has used funds the U.S. Attorney’s Office has recovered to replace vegetation to prevent mudslides and erosion as well as to replant trees, and to repair and re-open hiking trails that were damaged or destroyed by wildland fires.


Joanne Osinoff

Joanne Osinoff is the Chief of the Complex and Defensive Litigation Section, the largest section in the Office’s Civil Division. Since joining the Office in 1997, Ms. Osinoff has defended the United States and its agencies in trial and appellate courts in a wide variety of litigation, including cases involving torts, complex medical malpractice, employment discrimination, law enforcement and prisoner matters, immigration, bankruptcy, statutory and constitutional challenges, and Medicare and Social Security. She previously served as this Office’s assistant division chief of the Civil Division, and later, was the deputy chief of the Complex and Defensive Litigation Section until her promotion to section chief in 2018. Prior to joining the Office, Ms. Osinoff served as a senior trial attorney in the Department of Justice’s Torts Branch in Washington, D.C., and tried cases and argued appeals throughout the nation. She has mentored and trained attorneys as an invited lecturer for legal communities across the nation. While in private practice, Ms. Osinoff worked as a lawyer at the law firm of Haight, Brown and Bonesteel. Her accomplishments include winning Special Achievement Awards from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Air Force. Ms. Osinoff attended Northwestern University and received her juris doctorate from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Recent Cases

January 19, 2017
Press Release
U.S. Files Consent Decree Against O.C. Dietary Supplement Company to Stop Distribution of Adulterated and Misbranded Products

September 20, 2016
Press Release
Justice Department and Los Angeles County Superior Court Reach Agreement to Ensure Access to Justice for Limited English Proficient Individuals

July 14, 2016
Press Release
United States Files Lawsuit to Recover Monetary Damages Associated with 2013 Mountain Fire in San Bernardino National Forest

Section Contact Information

The United States Attorney's Office
Central District of California
Civil Division
ATTN: Complex and Defensive Litigation Section
300 N. Los Angeles St., Suite 7516
Los Angeles, CA 90012

(213) 894-2879 (Phone)
(213) 894-7819 (Fax)

Updated November 17, 2023