Friday, October 18

7:30–9:00 a.m.

Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:45–9:00 a.m.

Welcome & Opening Remarks

9:00–10:00 a.m.

Getting The Lay Of The Land: An Overview Of Whistleblower Claims & Special Industry Protections
Speakers: Richard R. Renner & Thad M. Guyer
Our opening presentation will introduce practitioners to the statutory maze governing the vast universe of whistleblower claims. Mr. Renner and Mr. Guyer will also discuss the special federal protections afforded workers in various sectors of the economy and help you address the unique challenges posed by litigating these actions.

10:15 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

CONCURRENT SESSIONS

 

Common Issues In Retaliation Actions
Speakers: The Honorable James E. Boasberg, Anne Golden, Elizabeth Kristen & Elizabeth A. Rodgers
This session is best suited for those with novice to intermediate-level experience in litigating retaliation claims. The panel will discuss the issues most likely to arise in a retaliation action. For example, what is the difference between "opposition" and "participation"? What should you know about FMLA retaliation and interference claims? What constitutes a reasonable belief that the conduct complained of was illegal? What does the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in University of Texas Southwest Medical Center v. Nassar tell us about the causation standard for retaliation cases? What evidence satisfies the causation element? Our panel will share their valuable, practical insights into these and other issues common to retaliation actions.

 

Representing Federal Employees In Retaliation Claims
Speakers: Kristin D. Alden & Cathy Harris
Federal employees who report the corruption and abuses of our government often find themselves fighting against a resourceful behemoth. Our panel will share their best practice tips for representing federal employees in the courts and before the various federal administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Merit Systems Protection Board, and the Office of Special Counsel. The panel will also consider the importance of the Federal Circuit's decision in Whitmore v. Department of Labor.

11:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m.

Luncheon & Keynote Address By James H. Holzrichter, Sr.
James H. Holzrichter, Sr. courageously blew the whistle on his employer, Northrop Grumman, a major defense contractor that allegedly overcharged the U.S. government on several defense programs, including the B-2 bomber. As chronicled in his book, A Just Cause: A True Story of Courage, Hope, & the Integrity of the American Dream, Mr. Holzrichter tenaciously pursued his False Claims Act case for 17 years, one of the first and now the longest running FCA case in history. Northrop Grumman ultimately agreed to pay $134 million for its activities while admitting no wrongdoing on its part, but Mr. Holzrichter's whistleblowing entailed tremendous personal sacrifice. Mr. Holzrichter will share his harrowing journey in his keynote address and discuss his current work mentoring other whistleblowers. NELA is honored to welcome Mr. Holzrichter as the keynote speaker for our Fall 2013 Seminar.

1:00–2:00 p.m.

CONCURRENT SESSIONS

 

Using The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act To Your Advantage
Speakers: Tom Devine, Adam Miles, R. Scott Oswald & Bryan Polisuk
After a 13-year legislative campaign and four straight defeats, Congress finally and unanimously passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA). Our speakers will survey the WPEA's impact on the legal landscape from the conceptual and the nuts and bolts levels. The audience will hear historical perspectives from a leader of the legislative campaign and agency directors tasked with primary responsibility to implement the new law. The panel members will also share practice tips designed to assist advocates in obtaining successful interpretation and application of the law.

 

Getting To Know The False Claims Act
Moderator: Shauna B. Itri
Speakers: Tracy L. Hilmer, Mark A. Kleiman & Ann Lugbill

Designed to be interesting and fun for both novice False Claims Act qui tam whistleblower attorneys and those with ample experience with this unique law, this session will combine an overview of qui tam litigation involving financial fraud perpetrated against the federal and state governments: health care, military or other government procurement, and additional violations your clients may report. Our guest speakers from the Department of Justice will present their personal views on how whistleblowers and their lawyers can best enhance their prospects and maximize government recoveries—and thus those of the whistleblowers. A lively question and answer session will ensure that attorneys at all experience levels come away with new insights and ideas on how to best move forward with False Claims Act litigation.

2:10–3:10 p.m.

Issue Spotting & Client Intake For Whistleblower & Retaliation Claims
Speakers: Kathryn Burkett Dickson, Debra S. Katz & Jason M. Zuckerman
The proliferation of whistleblower retaliation and reward laws has created a complex maze of claims and remedies. This panel will examine the issues that often arise in assessing whistleblower claims and offer tips for formulating an effective strategy to maximize your client's recovery. Topics include preserving a retaliation claim while pursuing a whistleblower reward claim, choosing the optimum forum, minimizing claim splitting and claim preclusion risks, choosing claims with favorable causation standards, exhausting administrative remedies, gathering supporting evidence lawfully and ethically, and settling retaliation claims without waiving potential whistleblower reward claims.

3:30–5:00 p.m.

Meet The Agencies: A Conversation With Officials Responsible For Enforcing Whistleblower & Retaliation Protections
Moderator: Julie M. Strandlie
Speakers: The Honorable Susan Tsui Grundmann, The Honorable Carolyn N. Lerner, The Honorable P. David Lopez & The Honorable Beth S. Slavet

To be effective and protect whistleblowers, anti-retaliation and other whistleblower statutes depend upon strong leadership and robust enforcement by administrative agencies. This panel features some of the most prominent and forward-thinking federal government agency leaders who are central to the success of employee retaliation and whistleblower actions. Among the questions to be explored are what challenges do these agencies face in protecting whistleblowers? What innovative approaches are agencies using to combat retaliation? What trends in agency protection of whistleblowers hold the most promise for more vigorous protection of these workers? How can we make progress so that whistleblowers do not have to risk their jobs, livelihoods, and careers when they speak truth to authority? Our speakers will share their views on these and other issues surrounding enforcement of whistleblower and retaliation protections.

5:00–7:00 p.m.

Reception
Generously co-sponsored by The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, PLLC.