David K. Colapinto is a nationally recognized advocate for whistleblowers specializing in Qui Tam False Claims Act cases and whistleblower reward claims before the SEC, CFTC, and IRS. For more than 30 years he has successfully representing many whistleblowers in state and federal courts and before numerous agencies.
Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Colapinto was lead counsel for one of the whistleblowers in a major qui tam/False Claims action against the drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb, helping to recover more than $500 million for U.S. taxpayers and the government, and he was co-counsel for Bradley Birkenfeld helping to recover the largest ever tax whistleblower award ($104 million) for Mr. Birkenfeld in 2012. He has also successfully handled many other qui tam cases under the False Claims Act and other whistleblower award laws resulting in millions of dollars in recoveries for taxpayers and whistleblowers.
Mr. Colapinto also helped secure whistleblower protections for FBI and Intelligence Community employees. For example, he successfully represented Dr. Fredric Whitehurst, the FBI lab forensics expert who suffered retaliation after reporting serious misconduct and poor lab practices at the FBI. As a result of the Whitehurst v. FBI case, President Clinton ordered the Attorney General to implement the FBI whistleblower statute, but after the Attorney General failed to issue regulations Mr. Colapinto sued the Department of Justice on behalf of other FBI employees to secure their whistleblower rights.
He has also established important precedent under the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act. For example, Mr. Colapinto served as co-counsel in Linda Tripp’s successful lawsuit citing Privacy Act violations by the Department of Defense regarding the unauthorized leak of information from Ms. Tripp’s security clearance file following her testimony to the Independent Counsel. In another case, the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of a different client granting the request for expedited processing under FOIA.
Mr. Colapinto is a co-founder of the National Whistleblower Center where he serves as General Counsel in a pro bono capacity, and a Trustee of the National Whistleblower Legal Defense & Education Fund.
Promoting International Qui Tam Whistleblowing
Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto has played an instrumental role in advancing whistleblower rights worldwide. Currently the partners represent whistleblowers from every continent on earth (except Antarctica) in pursuing whistleblower reward cases under U.S. laws.
Steve Kohn has been sponsored by the U.S. Department of State to promote whistleblowing on a world-wide scale, including special seminars and programs in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bosnia, Serbia and Thailand. He has given major keynote addresses in Peru and Greece and presented in numerous international conferences and has testified on behalf of whistleblowers before the European Parliament and the Danish Parliament. Mike Kohn has made major international presentations in Poland, South Korea and Israel. The firm filed extensive comments supporting greater whistleblower protections in the now-approved European Directive on Whistleblowing.
Whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn and partners of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto regularly advise congress on crafting whistleblower laws. And play an instrumental role in drafting whistleblower protection laws, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, and the Dodd-Frank Act.
SEC & IRS Rulemaking
During the Dodd-Frank rulemaking process, our partners worked closely with the SEC to create an effective whistleblower program. Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto’s partners met personally with each of the five SEC Commissioners. They presented them with detailed reports and proposals setting forth rules that were essential to make the law work for Dodd-Frank whistleblowers as intended by Congress. Furthermore, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto’s whistleblower attorneys seek to protect and enhance legal protections for tax fraud whistleblowers. Our firm has filed numerous internal revenue service rulemaking petitions, filed extensive briefs to the IRS and testified at IRS rulemaking hearsing to strengthen the tax whistleblower program.
- August 23, 2010: Presentation to Representatives from the Office of the Chairman
- January 31, 2011: Presentation to the Staff of the SEC Division of Enforcement
- February 10, 2011: Presentation to SEC Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar
- February 11, 2011: Presentation to SEC Commissioner Troy A. Paredes
- March 11, 2011: Presentation to SEC Commissioner Kathleen L. Casey
- March 16, 2011: Presentation to SEC Commissioner Elisse B. Walter
- March 28, 2011: Presentation to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro
In recognition of the growing importance of whistleblower litigation, The National Law Journal named the whistleblower attorney and advocacy law firm of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto as one of top fifty plaintiff’s law firms in the United States. The firm’s partners were officially named as among “America’s Elite Trial Lawyers.” In its September 29, 2014 article, “Elite Trial Lawyers: The 50 Leading Plaintiff’s Firms in America,” the National Law Journal named Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto as one of the firm’s “doing the most creative and most important work in the courtroom.”
- Federal Employee Whistleblowing – Interview with David Colapinto (March 4, 2022)
(Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3)
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