The Civil Division defends the interests of the United States in cases in which the United States or federal agencies are sued for alleged conduct by their officers or employees. The Civil Division also defends federal employees who are sued for allegations arising out of their employment. These defensive matters include actions seeking monetary damages for personal injury, medical malpractice, and employment discrimination; prison litigation; judicial review of agency decisions, such as Social Security disability cases; and actions for injunctive relief, which challenge a federal agency's compliance with federal law or the Constitution. The defensive section of the Civil Division also represents the federal government in commercial litigation cases such as bankruptcy and foreclosure matters involving the United States as a creditor or lien holder.
In addition to its defensive role, the Civil Division brings affirmative litigation on behalf of the United States. These cases seek monetary reimbursement, penalties, and damages pursuant to the False Claims Act, where persons or entities have made false claims to a federal agency. An example of such action would include false statements made to Medicare or Medicaid by health care organizations or false statements made in connection with federal procurement contracts. Other affirmative litigation includes affirmative environmental cases, litigation conducted under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Financial Litigation Unit of the Civil Division diligently pursues debts owed to the United States in the form of criminal fines and restitution owed after sentencing and unpaid judgments in favor of the United States, including judgments and settlements in Affirmative Civil Enforcement matters and debts arising from various federal loan programs, including student loans, farm loans, and small business loans. The Financial Litigation Unit produces funds which can equal or exceed the yearly cost of administering the United States Attorney's office.