The Civil Division represents the United States and its departments, agencies, and employees in civil actions brought against the United States at both the trial and appellate levels. The Civil Division’s defensive cases include suits alleging negligence under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), including medical malpractice; allegations of unlawful discrimination in federal employment; challenges to agency actions under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); suits seeking release of records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act; the defense of government officials sued in their individual capacities for constitutional violations (Bivens actions); and motions to quash subpoenas that fail to comply with applicable federal regulations (Touhy matters). The Civil Division supervises Social Security disability benefits cases filed in federal district court that are litigated by lawyers with the Social Security Administration who are designated as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys.
The Civil Division also handles affirmative civil rights matters in which it seeks enforcement of statutes that prohibit discrimination in areas such as housing, employment, and education. These statutes include the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
Other affirmative civil enforcement actions such as asset forfeiture and actions under the False Claims Act are handled by the office’s Asset Recovery and Money Laundering (ARML) Division.