The Civil Division is primarily responsible for defending all civil actions brought against the United States, its agencies, officers and employees in the Eastern District of Virginia, taking affirmative civil actions to recover government money lost to fraud, and upholding the civil rights of the District’s citizens. The venues for these suits include the United States District and Bankruptcy Courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and, on occasion, state courts.
In defending the United States, its client agencies, and employees, the Office protects the public fisc and the integrity of federal programs. Defensive litigation makes up the greatest percentage of the Civil Division’s caseload. These cases comprise a broad array of claims, including employment discrimination, the Administrative Procedure Act, medical malpractice and other personal injury torts, constitutional torts, immigration, the Freedom of Information Act, and more. The presence of numerous agency headquarters and military installations in EDVA, such as the Department of Defense, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Central Intelligence Agency, among others, contributes to a robust defensive caseload. Given the large concentration of intelligence agencies in EDVA, the Office also has unique expertise in civil litigation involving national security.
Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE)
AUSAs who work on ACE matters investigate fraud and other misconduct committed against the United States, and, where appropriate, bring civil actions to recover damages and/or seek penalties against those who violate the Nation’s health, safety, and economic welfare laws. Qui tam suits under the False Claims Act are a bulwark of the ACE docket, and the Office has a long history of fighting procurement fraud given the presence of many agency and contractor headquarters in EDVA. EDVA also has a substantial health care fraud docket, and in recent years, the Office has emphasized using civil remedies to combat the opioid crisis. In addition, the Civil Division works to combat fraud involving federal government programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, and where applicable, the ACE Unit engages in parallel proceedings to coordinate civil and criminal fraud investigations.
Civil Rights Enforcement
EDVA’s Civil Rights Enforcement Unit (CRE) combines case-based work with outreach and technical assistance. The CRE Unit has an active Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enforcement program that has generated numerous settlements ensuring equal access to health care under DOJ’s Barrier Free Healthcare Initiative; ensuring equal access to polling places under DOJ’s ADA Voting Initiative; and ensuring physical access to places of public accommodation, among other areas of enforcement. Given the large military presence in the District, the CRE Unit also has an AUSA who is fully dedicated to protecting servicemember and veterans’ rights through enforcement of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
The Civil Division of the Office also protects the government’s financial, contractual, and regulatory interests in cases pending before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in order to ensure compliance with applicable bankruptcy laws and maximize recovery of obligations owed to the United States.