Affirmative Civil Enforcement
The Civil Division handles Affirmative Civil Enforcement actions to recover damages for fraud and other offenses against the United States and its agencies; imposes civil penalties for violations of the nation's health, safety and economic welfare laws; and uses the Fraud Injunction Statute to enjoin ongoing mail, wire or bank frauds and to freeze ill-gotten gains derived from those frauds. Investigations or cases may be initiated by a federal agency's investigation or by claims presented by "whistle blowers" under applicable federal statutes. Typical cases involve claims for payment submitted to Medicare by health care providers, claims for payment submitted by contractors for government contracts, and claims by individuals for certain federal benefits. The AUSAs and support staff work closely with Criminal Division AUSAs and federal, state, and local agencies to share information and coordinate parallel investigations and cases arising from the same or related facts and circumstances. This unit also actively participates in a health care fraud task force to improve coordination among the various agencies involved in the fight against health care fraud. The unit represents the interests of the United States and federal agencies which make claims against debtors in bankruptcy cases.
Financial Litigation Unit
The Financial Litigation Unit litigates debt collection issues and collects criminal and civil debts owed to the United States including judgments, fines, restitution and penalties. The United States and its agencies seek recoveries from corporate or individual debtors who have obtained loans through many federal programs, such as student loan programs and Small Business Administration loan programs as only two examples. The work of the Financial Litigation Unit is important to the taxpayer, and victims of crime depend heavily upon its dedicated pursuit of monetary restitution for criminal losses.
Civil Defensive Division
The Civil Defensive Division represents the United States, its agencies and employees at the trial and appellate levels in a wide variety of civil actions in federal and state courts. These AUSAs frequently defend employment discrimination cases, personal injury actions, medical malpractice claims arising out of treatment at a Veterans' Hospital or other federally-supported health facilities, challenges to agency determinations such as the denial of social security disability benefits, and decisions by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to deport or detain aliens.
The division is also responsible for a broad range of other matters, including requests to amend records under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act, appeals and/or challenges under the Administrative Procedure Act, defense of government officials sued in their individual capacities, and motions to quash subpoenas that fail to comply with applicable federal regulations. While the bulk of litigation against the United States is filed in federal court, some cases are filed in state courts throughout Alabama. There is a tremendous volume of lawsuits generated in the Northern District of Alabama against the United States. Some of these include branches of the Department of the Treasury, Department of Health and Human Services, and the United States Postal Service. Alabama is home to a federal penitentiary and a Veterans Administration Medical Center.
Service of Process
Rule 4(i) of the FRCP addresses “Serving the United States and Its Agencies, Corporations, Officers, or Employees.” Service of process by hand delivery and registered or certified mail may be effected by delivery of the summons and complaint addressed to: Civil Division, Process Clerk, United States Attorney’s Office, 1801 4th Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203.
The United States Attorney’s Office is not authorized to accept service on behalf of the Attorney General of the United States or other federal agencies, corporations, officers, or employees. Thus, if the applicable rule requires any such entities and persons to be served, then they must be served separately and in addition to service upon the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Furthermore, litigants who sue Federal defendants should note that FRCP (4)(d)(1) does not apply to service on the United States and its agencies, corporations, officers, and employees.