False Claims – Whistleblower Qui Tam Cases
Pursuant to a mandate from the New Mexico Legislature, Mr. Cohen was the first person to be appointed by the New Mexico Attorney General to a full-time post overseeing all cases brought under New Mexico Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (“FATA”), New Mexico’s state false claims law enacted in 2007. Some of Mr. Cohen’s accomplishments in that role include the following:
- Conducted litigation of numerous FATA cases on behalf of the State of New Mexico, including leading the litigation of the first New Mexico-based FATA case to secure a multi-million dollar recovery for the State of New Mexico ($5.2 million from Chevron Corporation).
- Worked with state agencies throughout New Mexico state government to investigate dozens of qui tam lawsuits brought under FATA, and pursued FATA claims involving investment fraud, procurement fraud, and Medicaid fraud, among others.
- Directly advised the Attorney General on all qui tam matters and developed and implemented all qui tam policies, including carrying out the State’s first-ever intervention in a FATA qui tam lawsuit.
- Led an effort, joined by 11 Attorneys General from around the United States, to establish a first-of-its kind group through the National Association of Attorneys General to facilitate the coordinated investigation and prosecution of multi-state non-Medicaid qui tam matters; and led teams of lawyers from Attorneys General offices around the country in the investigation and pursuit of multi-state non-Medicaid qui tam matters.
- Served as an expert witness before state legislative committees and on the floor of the New Mexico House of Representatives and Senate in connection with proposed revisions to FATA.
Class Action / Mass Torts
Our attorneys have litigated class actions from inception through class certification and to resolution in both state and federal courts. We are knowledgeable of the procedural and litigation dynamics unique to class actions, with particular expertise in products liability, consumer fraud, false advertising, oil and gas royalty, and unfair competition. We have successfully represented class action clients in cases involving a wide variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, banking and financial services, insurance, and consumer products. In addition, Ms. Zedalis has had significant experience with mass tort litigation, primarily in multidistrict litigation involving products liability and consumer fraud.
The attorneys of Cohen & Zedalis have successfully conducted a wide range of appeals before state and federal courts and tribunals. We have prosecuted and defended appeals in New Mexico, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and the District of Columbia.Representative matters include:
- State ex rel. King v. Lyons, 2011-NMSC-004, 149 N.M. 330, 248 P.3d 878.
- In Re Desert Rock Energy Company, LLC, 14 E.A.D. 484 (2009).
- Quintero v. New Mexico Dept. of Transp., 2010-NMCA-081, 148 N.M. 903, 242 P.3d 470.
- Farmers Ins. Co. of Arizona v. Chen, 2010-NMCA-031, 148 N.M. 151, 231 P.3d 607.
Complex Civil Litigation Support
Cohen & Zedalis attorneys have significant experience with complex litigation in state and federal courts. Previously employed by some of the country’s largest and best corporate litigation firms, we have worked both sides of the complex litigation aisle. Our unique understanding of and personal experience with major corporate defense litigation practice enhances our effectiveness at prosecuting complex, high-stakes claims on behalf of plaintiffs. With such knowledge and experience, Cohen & Zedalis can contribute significant value to plaintiffs’ firms seeking additional firepower in complex litigation against major law firms.
Cohen & Zedalis attorneys have successfully litigated cases against the pharmaceutical industry.
Ms. Zedalis played an integral part in assisting the Branch Law Firm, New Mexico State Liaison Counsel, in the prosecution of hundreds of claims in the multidistrict litigation in the Eastern District of Louisiana and Atlantic County, New Jersey, against the pharmaceutical giant Merck and Company relating to Merck’s blockbuster drug Vioxx. Merck eventually settled all claims for $4.85 billion, one of the largest ever in civil litigation.
On behalf of the State of New Mexico, Mr. Cohen has supervised, litigated and negotiated claims against major pharmaceutical companies for unfair trade practices and/or Medicaid fraud, recovering over $30 million for the State of New Mexico.
Over the course of several years with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, Mr. Cohen played a vital role in the State’s efforts to pursue and recover on claims for securities fraud and related misconduct in connection with unlawful pay-to-play investment schemes affecting the State’s major investment and pension funds.
Mr. Cohen has worked closely with New Mexico state investment agencies to evaluate and pursue claims in connection with qui tam lawsuits alleging fraud or misconduct in relation to the State’s investment in mortgage-backed securities, hedge funds and private equity funds, among others.