Deputy Chief, Houston
Deputy Chief, South Texas and Border Fence
AUSAs in the Civil Division represent the United States in civil law suits in state and federal courts throughout the SDTX. The assigned attorney remains responsible for a civil case from the trial court proceedings through appellate review at the U.S. Courts of Appeals. Representation can be for the U.S. as plaintiff or a creditor in bankruptcy proceedings and for the U.S. as a defendant or its officers or employees as defendants.
- Protect the U.S. Treasury against monetary claims such a tort cases, assure appropriate payments for meritorious claims, maximize monetary recovery for injury and damages to federal property and assert the federal government’s interest in defensive litigation
- Recover money owed to the federal government as the result of fraud, loan and contract defaults, and unsatisfied judgments and combat health care fraud through the vigorous implementation of civil remedies provided by the False Claims Act.
- Ensure the government’s interests are fully protected in bankruptcy proceedings.
- Condemn land for federal projects.
- Defend the United States in immigration matters, challenges to federal programs, policy initiatives and statutes, and enforce remedies for violations of statutory-based federal programs.
- Bring affirmative actions to ensure compliance with federal civil rights laws.
Our defensive litigation team handles cases brought against the United States and its employees. These cases include tort, employment, immigration, environmental claims and claims for federal benefits. We handle our own appeals. We also handle land condemnation matters for federal agencies, including the border fence litigation for the Department of Homeland Security.
Affirmative Civil Enforcement
Affirmative Civil Enforcement AUSAs handle cases brought under the False Claims Act, drug diversion statutes, Fraud Injunction Statute and other laws designed to combat and punish corporations and individuals who defraud the government. The False Claims Act empowers private citizens with knowledge of fraud to present those claims to the U.S. If a judgment is entered in favor of the U.S. or the case is settled and monies are recovered by the U.S. and the State of Texas, the private citizen is entitled to share in any recovery.
Representative recoveries include:
Health care fraud:
Community Health Systems, Inc. (CHS) – CHS paid $98.15 million in this multi-district case to settle allegations that its 118 hospitals admitted patients who did not meet medical necessity criteria for hospital admission. One of the 118 hospitals is Laredo Medical Center.
McAllen Medical Center - Universal Health Services Inc. paid the United States $27.5 million to settle claims based on alleged violations of the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law by its affiliate, McAllen Medical Center. This is the largest recovery ever obtained by the SDTX in a non-multidistrict case.
Defense procurement fraud:
Bering Straights - Bering Straights Technical Services, LLC and its parent company, Bering Straights Native Corporation, paid $2 million to settle allegations that they submitted invoices to the Defense Logistics Agency for maintenance and repair work at the Red River Army Depot, near Texarkana, that was not performed.
United States ex rel. Pallares v. American Grocers and Samir Itani – American Grocers, a Houston-based company, was alleged to have sold expired or soon to expire food to PWC, the Defense Department contractor who supplied food to U.S. troops in Iraq, at deep discounts, changing the dates on the labels to make the food appear fresh. The case settled for $15 million.
CVS - CVS pharmacy paid $1.9 million to resolve allegations that it filled 153 prescriptions for controlled substances written by a physician who did not possess a valid Texas Department of Public Safety controlled substances registration number.
Education Affiliates, Inc. – Relators in this multi-district litigation alleged that Education Affiliates, Inc., the owner of several for-profit colleges and trade schools, employed illegal tactics to recruit ineligible students, faked attendance records, and engaged in other deceitful acts to maximize federal funding. The case settled for $13 million.
For more information - Affirmative Civil Enforcement
Civil Rights Section
The Civil Rights Section is committed to the enforcement of our nation’s civil rights laws. The Section takes a proactive approach and works with the public, state, federal, and local government agencies, and with community organizations to identify and remedy civil rights violations. Additionally, the Civil Rights Section engages in outreach to the civil rights community and the public to gather information to assist them in identifying appropriate matters for investigation or litigation, if necessary.
The Civil Rights Section pursues enforcement actions in many areas, including anti-discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, disability rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, fair housing and fair lending under the Fair Housing Act, and service members’ rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
For additional information, including contact information and a complaint form - Civil Rights Section