Faculty: Erika A. Kelton

Erika KeltonErika A. Kelton is a partner in the law firm Phillips & Cohen LLP.  Ms. Kelton has substantial experience representing whistleblowers both in the U.S. and abroad in cases involving fraud against the U.S. government and those involving claims brought under whistleblower reward programs with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Internal Revenue Service, including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.

Ms. Kelton secured for a client an SEC whistleblower award of more than $30 million in a case involving massive securities fraud. It is the largest SEC whistleblower reward under the Dodd-Frank whistleblower program.

She also has set records in her work on “qui tam” (False Claims Act) whistleblower cases. Ms. Kelton, who works out of both the Washington, DC, and San Francisco offices of Phillips & Cohen LLP, represented whistleblowers in the two biggest healthcare fraud settlements ever:

  • A record-setting settlement by GlaxoSmithKline for $3 billion in 2012. Phillips & Cohen’s qui tam lawsuit against Glaxo filed on behalf of two whistleblower clients and a separate whistleblower lawsuit settled for a combined $1.017 billion plus a related criminal fine of $554 million for a criminal charge based on Phillips & Cohen’s case. Phillips & Cohen’s whistleblower case alleged Glaxo engaged in nationwide improper marketing practices, including the use of financial inducements to doctors to prescribe Glaxo’s drugs and the promotion of Advair, Wellbutrin, Imitrex, Lamictal, Zofran and Valtrex for off-label, unapproved uses.
  • A whistleblower case against Pfizer Inc. for illegally marketing the painkiller, Bextra. Pfizer paid $1.8 billion in 2009 to settle that case and a related criminal fine. The settlement was the biggest piece of a global settlement of several whistleblower cases by Pfizer for $2.3 billion – which was at the time the largest healthcare fraud settlement ever in the U.S. and now is second largest after the Glaxo settlement.

Ms. Kelton was selected “Whistleblower Lawyer of the Year” for 2012 by Taxpayers Against Fraud, a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of whistleblowers, in recognition of her work on the Glaxo case and other advocacy work for whistleblowers. This year, Lawdragon selected her for its “500 Leading Lawyers in America” list.

As an expert in whistleblower enforcement approaches, Ms. Kelton has consulted with the U.S. Congress, the Securities Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Internal Revenue Service on the establishment and workings of the agencies’ whistleblower programs. She also has consulted on whistleblower programs with policymakers and legislators in Europe and Asia.

Ms. Kelton is frequently interviewed by journalists for her expertise in whistleblower matters involving the False Claims Act, the IRS whistleblower program and the Dodd-Frank whistleblower reward programs at the SEC and the CFTC. She often has been quoted by U.S. media – including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal – and by media in other countries, such as Valor Economico (Brazil), the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany), the BBC, The Financial Times and Australian Public Radio.

Ms. Kelton has published several articles and op-eds about whistleblower laws and programs. She also is a regular contributor to Forbes.com, where she has a blog, “Fraud Matters.”

Ms. Kelton graduated in 1987 from the University of California Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), where she was articles editor of the California Law Review. From 1987 to 1994 she was associated with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Ms. Kelton is on the Board of Directors and the President’s Council for Taxpayers Against Fraud, a nonprofit, public interest organization that supports and advocates on behalf of whistleblowers.

Recently she co-taught a course on whistleblower law at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law with fellow Phillips & Cohen partner Claire M. Sylvia. It was one of the first courses on the False Claims Act taught at a major law school.

Ms. Kelton is admitted to the bar in Washington, DC and California

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CLE Info and Forms

SEF2014 CLE -sm6.5 hrs CLE credit approved in PA and VA. Forms available here.


Links to materials available here.


When: Thursday, October 13, 2016
7:00 am - 8:00 am (breakfast & registration)
8:00 am - 5:00 pm (followed by cocktail party)
Where: Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
CLE Credit: 6.0 hours (pending approval in VA and PA)

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