The Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York represents the interests of the United States in a host of civil actions in the United States District Court, the United States Bankruptcy Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Civil Division handles a large and diverse docket of affirmative, defensive, programmatic, and asset recovery cases and matters.
The affirmative practices are Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE), which covers a range of matters, including consumer protection, financial fraud, and government procurement fraud; Civil Rights; Drug and Listed Chemical Diversion; and Health Care Fraud. In addition, the Civil Division has an Environmental practice comprising affirmative cases (including matters focused on Environmental Justice) and defensive cases. Collectively, these practices concern the application and enforcement of an array of statutes such as the False Claims Act (FCA) in ACE, Health Care Fraud, and procurement fraud cases; the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in Drug and Listed Chemical Diversion cases; the Anti-Fraud Injunction Act in consumer protection cases; the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) in financial fraud cases; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in Civil Rights cases; and the Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA), and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) in Environmental cases. The AUSAs working in these practice areas are at the forefront in litigating cases that advance important governmental interests and Departmental mission priorities. Indeed, the Office has taken the lead or otherwise played an important role in a number of cases of national importance and scope, obtaining landmark injunctive relief and monetary recoveries.
The defensive practices, in which the Government is sued for money damages, include Bivens or constitutional tort actions in which federal employees and officials are sued personally for money damages, personal injury actions under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), medical malpractice cases against VA hospitals and federally subsidized health clinics, and employment discrimination (race, national origin, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, and disability) cases brought against federal agencies. At any given time, the Civil Division defends hundreds of cases that seek, in the aggregate, hundreds of millions of dollars against the Government, its agencies, officials and employees.
Programmatic cases, in which declaratory and/or injunctive relief is sought, may be among the most high profile cases in the country and include cases brought under the Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act, and/or substantive statutes, such as the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Social Security Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, the Rivers and Harbors Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.
The asset recovery practice includes bankruptcy matters referred to this Office by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Education, as well as cases handled by the Financial Litigation Unit (FLU), which is responsible for enforcing civil and criminal judgments by collecting debts due and owing the Government.
In addition to FLU, the Civil Division has several other specialized units, including the Immigration Litigation Unit, which defends statutory and constitutional challenges arising under the nation’s immigration laws, and the Social Security Unit, which defends claims for benefits under the Social Security Act.
In 2021, this Office created a Civil Rights Team within the Civil Division in order to enhance the Office’s focus on protecting the rights of the most vulnerable residents of the district, especially those in disadvantaged communities. Also in 2021, this Office created an Environmental Justice Team (EJ Team) in the Civil Division to reinforce the Office’s longstanding commitment to environmental enforcement by addressing disproportionate environmental, health, economic and climate impacts on disadvantaged communities. In 2022, this Office created a Consumer Protection Team in the Civil Division to further strengthen the Office’s focus on protecting the health, safety, economic security, and dignity of individuals in the Eastern District of New York and nationwide, including our most vulnerable residents.