Hollingsworth LLP represents companies as well as corporate directors, officers, and other management officials in connection with investigations. We represent such clients when they are responding to Government investigations of many kinds, and we conduct internal investigations and reviews to assist our clients’ own corporate governance or legal compliance. These kinds of inquiries are often concurrent based on parallel proceedings being conducted by regulators or law enforcement entities, particularly when there are overlapping criminal, civil, and/or administrative proceedings directed at the same company or the same management officials. In the environmental arena, such investigations are often triggered by a catastrophic event and require immediate response, which our highly experienced partners are prepared to provide.
With respect to helping our clients respond to Government investigations, Hollingsworth LLP attorneys have represented clients facing civil and criminal inquiries being conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, including U.S. Attorneys’ offices around the country. We also have represented clients in connection with inquiries being conducted by federal departments and agencies including the Department of Defense and its military components, the Department of Agriculture and the FDA, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Patrol and Coast Guard, the Treasury Department and federal financial institution regulators, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In addition, we have represented clients in connection with investigations by U.S. Congressional Committees. For all these kinds of inquiries, we have reviewed and provided client information to Government investigators, negotiated resolutions, and defended our clients in related administrative, civil, and criminal proceedings. These clients have included U.S. government contractors, major international export organizations, pharmaceutical corporations, transportation, engineering, and oil production companies, and financial institutions and their holding companies – as well as directors, officers, and other management officials of these same entities.
With respect to internal investigations, our firm has reviewed internal operations and reports to determine if clients have satisfied Government and contractual requirements, interviewed employees, officers, and directors about potential violations of law, and identified possible concerns so that they may be resolved as efficiently as possible. In doing this work, we utilize a range of formal and informal procedures. We also advise companies and/or their boards of directors, officers, or other management officials (including general counsels and chief financial officers) about options for internal resolutions, such as adopting revised bylaws or tightening operating procedures to achieve compliance and avoid repetitions of previously criticized conduct. Anti-corruption compliance programs, corporate integrity agreements, environmental management programs, and deferred or non-prosecution agreements are other results we have achieved for clients over the years. Hollingsworth LLP partners also assist our corporate clients and management officials in preparing factual reports or making referrals to Government regulators or law enforcement entities, as necessary, based on applicable provisions of law or contract.
As noted above, our various kinds of work on investigations are often combined when our clients must both respond to a Government inquiry about alleged wrongdoing and also find out for themselves whether any company employees or representatives have violated applicable law or internal codes of conduct or ethics. For example, our firm has coordinated and carried out representations – both in response to the Government and for internal review purposes – when allegations of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or False Claims Act violations have been directed against our clients either by the Government or by whistle-blowers. Similarly, we have represented clients in multiple ways when they were accused of defective design in safety products made for law enforcement and military forces, when they were charged with knowing or reckless violations of environmental laws, and when other clients (including pharmaceutical companies and food manufacturers) were accused of fraud on the FDA. At the same time we were determining what happened within these companies, we were representing the companies in responding to and negotiating with the Government. This kind of coordinated work is often essential to resolving Government investigations and getting the targeted companies back to focusing on their business.
Because Hollingsworth LLP handles complex litigation of many kinds, our partners who conduct investigations (some of whom are former federal prosecutors) also stand ready to handle any litigation – civil or criminal – that results from the investigations. This may be litigation or threatened litigation involving the Government, company shareholders, contract parties, whistle-blowers, or others. In all such related investigations and litigation, we safeguard attorney-client and work-product privileges, and we advocate for appropriate document production protection and efficiency to reduce costs.
Additional examples of work undertaken by Hollingsworth LLP attorneys to resolve Government investigations have included the defense of:
- Alleged violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by pharmaceutical, medical device, and other healthcare companies;
- Claims asserted under the False Claims Act and provisions of the Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley legislation;
- Alleged violations of U.S. and EU economic sanctions and other import/export restrictions placed on international business clients, in response to inquiries by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the U.S. Departments of State and Justice, the U.S. Commerce Department, and other entities within the U.S. Government’s intelligence community;
- Alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and other environmental statutes being investigated by the EPA;
- Alleged violations of the Federal Consumer Product Safety Act relating to product recalls, as well as civil penalty actions alleging failure to report defective products;
- Parallel proceedings by the DOJ, the SEC and the IRS – all inquiring into alleged fiduciary duty violations and fraud by a securities broker and investment banking firm;
- Alleged violations of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act being investigated by the FAA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration;
- Alleged violations of anti-smuggling laws being investigated by U.S. Customs and Border Control and alleged violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships being investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard;
- Federal and state Inspector General investigations into possible violations of law, including anti-kickback statutes and allegedly improper program funding or spending;
- Formal examinations and investigations conducted by the federal financial institution regulatory agencies, and the formal enforcement proceedings that typically follow such investigations; and
- Alleged data breach, trade-secrets theft, and cyber security irregularities involved in Government investigations and insurance coverage claims.