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Civil Division


The attorneys of the Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah, assisted by great support staff, represent the United States, its departments, agencies, and officials in defensive civil litigation and affirmative civil enforcement actions in the United States District Court for the District of Utah and the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

The types of cases handled by the Civil Division are wide ranging. Among others, we defend the following types of court claims: tort claims filed against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which range from slip and fall cases on federal property to complex medical and dental malpractice claims; claims against individual employees of the United States alleging constitutional violations (Bivens actions); employment discrimination claims brought by current or former federal employees; environmental and other claims alleging violations of the Administrative Procedure Act or other federal statutes that govern the conduct of federal agencies, including claims against the federal natural resource agencies (the BLM, the Forest Service, and the Park Service); Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act cases; quiet title cases against the United States; cases attempting to foreclose federal liens; and we assist Social Security attorneys defending appeals from the denial of Social Security disability claims.

We also affirmatively prosecute federal condemnation cases, trespass actions on federal property, cases to protect the rights of federally-recognized Indian tribes, some limited civil tax cases, cases to recover excess proceeds from foreclosures that are owed to a federal agency, and bankruptcy cases where the United States claims money is owed to it. We occasionally also assist in gathering information needed for lawsuits in foreign countries when the United States Department of Justice authorizes it.      

We also bring other civil affirmative actions to recover money or property owed to the United States or those to whom it owes certain duties. These actions are handled by our Affirmative Civil Enforcement Section, or our Financial Litigation Program, as further explained below.

The attorneys and staff of the Civil Division are not authorized to provide, and cannot provide, legal assistance to private citizens and entities, nor can we advise them about or represent them in litigation.

Affirmative Civil Enforcement Section
The Affirmative Civil Enforcement (“ACE”) Section seeks to recover damages and penalties, and sometimes to obtain injunctive relief, against defendants who commit civil wrongs against the United States. These cases include health care fraud, defense procurement fraud and grant fraud; kickbacks; whistle-blower cases; consumer product safety cases; civil rights cases, including enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Housing Act; drug cases involving civil violations of the Controlled Substances Act; and actions involving misuse of Housing and Urban Development project funds.  In addition, ACE seeks to recover costs associated with the suppression of wildfires and the rehabilitation of damaged, federally-managed public lands.

Financial Litigation Program
The Financial Litigation Program (“FLP”) enforces judgments to collect civil and criminal debts due to the United States and federal crime victims in a timely, aggressive, efficient, and cost-effective manner. Civil recoveries arise generally from delinquent student loans, civil fraud prosecutions, and penalties. Criminal recoveries are for restitution that is returned to crime victims; and fines and penalties, which are distributed through various grants for use by crime victims.

Asset Forfeiture Section
The Asset Forfeiture Section seizes and forfeits assets that represent the proceeds from violations of federal law. Asset forfeiture is a powerful tool used by law enforcement against criminals and criminal organizations to deprive them of their ill-gotten gains through seizure of assets. Assets can be forfeited through administrative forfeiture, civil judicial forfeiture or criminal forfeiture. Forfeited assets can be used to provide restitution to victims of crimes and to support federal, state, and local law enforcement activities.


Updated September 1, 2023