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Civil Division

The Civil Division represents United States and its agencies, officials, employees, and agents in a wide range of cases and matters at the trial and appellate levels in federal and state courts. The division’s work roughly falls into three categories: Defensive, Affirmative Civil Enforcement, and Financial Litigation.


The Civil Division represents the interests of the United States and its agencies, officials, employees, and agents when sued in federal, state, or tribal courts. Typical cases involve torts (medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, and other alleged wrongful or negligent conduct by government agencies or officials), constitutional torts against individuals (Bivens, Section 1983, and other individual-capacity suits), employment discrimination and disputes (Title VII, ADEA, Rehab Act, MSPB, and others), Native American matters, challenges to federal agency decisions, actions, and inactions, constitutional challenges to statutes, immigration matters, environmental suits, prisoner actions, FOIA, bankruptcy, Social Security appeals, state-court foreclosures involving federal liens, and subpoenas issued to federal agencies, employees, or agents.

Affirmative Civil Enforcement

The Civil Division engages in affirmative civil litigation on behalf of the United States, seeking damages, penalties, and injunctive relief for violations of federal law. These cases advance the interests of the United States in numerous areas, including federal program integrity (procurement fraud, healthcare fraud, benefits frauds, and many others), civil rights (Fair Housing Act, Civil Rights Act, USERRA, SCRA, and others), environmental compliance, administrative enforcement of federal law, and actions advancing public health, safety, and welfare. Many of these cases are brought in lieu of, or in addition to and parallel with, criminal prosecution.

Financial Litigation

The Civil Division’s financial litigation group cooperates with the Court Clerk's Office and the United States Probation Office to assist in the collection of criminal fines, restitution and special assessments. The division also undertakes the collection of civil debts owing to the United States and victims of crime from a wide variety of sources.

Updated March 25, 2021