False claims litigation practice complements Firm’s class action expertise

(WASHINGTON, D.C. - May 21, 2012) Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, a national leader in plaintiffs’ class action lawsuits, today launched a Whistleblower/False Claims Act Practice dedicated to litigating claims of fraud and corruption. Gary L. Azorsky and Jeanne A. Markey will head up the new practice. They are joined by Casey M. Preston. All are specialists in whistleblower cases on a federal and state basis and will practice in Cohen Milstein’s Philadelphia office.

Under the “qui tam” provisions of the U.S. False Claims Act when corporate fraud impacts governments, whistleblowers – acting in the name of the government – have the right to seek redress. (In Latin, qui tam refers to “one who sues on behalf of the King as well as for himself”). Attorneys in Cohen Milstein’s new practice are highly experienced in the intricacies of qui tam litigation in all phases of the process – from initial meetings with government officials through the litigation process.

“We welcome the depth of knowledge and experience these attorneys bring to Cohen Milstein,” said Steven Toll, Managing Partner of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC. “The Whistleblower/False Claims Act Practice will create new and exciting synergies with our existing practice areas, including Securities Fraud, Civil Rights and Employment, Antitrust and Employee Benefits, as well as our representation of State Attorneys General.”

Azorsky, who is chair of the new practice, added: “One of the many reasons we are so delighted to be at Cohen Milstein is how beautifully our practice meshes with the firm’s commitment to social and political justice that is displayed and advocated through its litigation.”

Azorsky, Markey and Preston have extensive experience litigating qui tam cases in the health care, pharmaceutical, defense contractor and education industries. They also have represented whistleblowers in tax fraud claims against large and small corporations through the IRS Whistleblower Office, and have filed claims with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Office on behalf of whistleblowers alleging violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The attorneys bring to Cohen Milstein a number of high-profile whistleblower cases, including United States of America et al., ex rel. Lauren Kieff, v. Wyeth, a lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Wyeth (subsequently acquired by Pfizer). The lawsuit alleges that the federal government and the states were defrauded when Wyeth falsely inflated the reported price of the acid suppression drug Protonix Oral from 2001 through 2006. Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia have joined with the United States to intervene in the Wyeth case –more states than have ever intervened in any qui tam case.

In addition to his qui tam practice, Gary Azorsky, a partner at Cohen Milstein, has been involved in groundbreaking civil rights, commercial and intellectual property litigation, including Internet and software industry-related cases. He is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey, and the United States Supreme Court, Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the District of New Jersey.

Jeanne Markey, a partner at Cohen Milstein, prior to focusing on her qui tam practice served as the primary attorney representing the putative class in Benzman v. Whitman, a class action in Manhattan and Brooklyn against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The claims were based on class members’ exposure to contaminants of World Trade Center interior dust resulting from the 9/11 attacks. Markey is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey, and the First Circuit Court of Appeals, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She frequently speaks about developments in the qui tam field.

In addition to serving as counsel for whistleblowers, Casey Preston, an associate at Cohen Milstein, also has represented and advised clients in various complex litigations, securities class actions, and commercial disputes. Preston is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States Supreme Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Middle District of Pennsylvania.

More information about Cohen Milstein’s Whistleblower/False Claims Act Practice can be found here, or call (267) 207-3475.