Welcome to the General Litigation Division ("GenLit"). If, after exploring this site, you believe that we may be of assistance, please feel free to contact us. Please note that while this site is intended to be informative for all visitors, we provide legal advice and services only to personnel of the United States Department of Commerce ("DOC") or other federal agencies on matters of official business.
The General Litigation Division of the Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Litigation, Employment, and Oversight is headed by Chief Megan Rose. GenLit handles a wide variety of matters, including, among other things, tort litigation, constitutional claims, representation of individual agency employees, administrative law, commercial law and bankruptcies, environmental services, and evidentiary and testimonial procedures. GenLit plays a prominent role in non-programmatic litigation and pre-litigation administrative processes, particularly with regard to liability issues arising under the Federal Tort Claims Act and admiralty law. GenLit investigates and processes administrative tort claims and assists the Department of Justice in the defense of tort litigation in federal court. GenLit similarly provides advice, legal support, and litigation services to DOC bureaus in matters of commercial law and environmental matters. In the commercial law arena, GenLit attorneys counsel clients as to their rights and represent their interests under loan and guaranteed loan programs, including counsel with regard to loan and bond restructuring, foreclosures, bankruptcies, and collections. In the area of environmental law, GenLit defends DOC bureaus against claims made under various environmental statutes, including the Comprehensive, Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund) and the Toxic Substances Control Act. Additionally, GLD administers the Department’s Touhy regulations, which govern the production of documents and the testimony of DOC employees in litigation not involving the Department. The Division coordinates with components and the Department of Justice regarding issuance of Litigation Hold Notices and administration of E-Discovery responsibilities, and counsels, when appropriate, DOC components regarding qui tam cases on which the Department of Justice requests DOC intervention recommendations.
Our Mission / Areas of Expertise
The General Litigation Division provides services to United States Department of Commerce client agencies (except the Patent & Trademark Office) in the following areas:
Tort Claims, Litigation and Liability Issues
Handle all DOC tort issues, including performing all programmatic as well as legal functions. This encompasses processing all administrative tort claims, providing counsel regarding tort liability issues, and representing DOC in tort matters.
Service of Process and Requests and/or Subpoenas for Employee Testimony and Documents
Counsel client agencies and make determinations regarding DOC's Touhy Regulations [15 C.F.R. Part 15, exclusive of Subpart C at §§ 15.21-15.25] pertaining to: 1) service of process, including summonses and complaints involving the DOC or DOC officials or other employees for official acts (Subpart A); 2) requests and/or subpoenas for testimony by employees and the production of documents in legal proceedings (Subpart B); and 3) requests for indemnification of DOC employees for verdicts, judgments or settlements involving the employee personally for official acts (Subpart D).
Individual Capacity Representation
Handle all issues related to suits for civil damages asserted against current or former federal employees in their individual capacities for conduct occurring within the scope of employment. GenLit coordinates, when appropriate as per 28 C.F.R §§ 50.15-16, the preparation of requests for Department of Justice representation and assists with the defense of the litigation in federal court.
Counsel and provide guidance related to the representation of clients in bankruptcy cases. This includes legal services ranging from filing proofs of claim to advocating DOC's interests in disputes, including any disputes that may arise with other federal agencies and the states. Although client agencies often remain the primary points of contact for notices, GenLit works with and through the United States Department of Justice (including the United States Attorneys) ("DOJ") to prosecute the claims and defend the interests of such agencies.
Counsel, prepare documents for, and represent client agencies regarding the administration and collection of loan-related indebtedness under a variety of programs. This includes the appropriateness and form of repayment assistance; bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy loan work-outs and bond restructuring; the liquidation or other disposition of collateral, including the requisite transactional work; and general support on programmatic needs where commercial law considerations play a significant role. In addition, GenLit provides legal representation for agencies on matters related to enforcement of loan agreements, bond resolutions, guarantees, and an assortment of collateral and security interests.
Provide guidance to and oversight of DOC agencies respecting the collection of indebtedness arising under myriad programs. In addition, GenLit reviews all requests by client agencies to the Assistant General Counsel for Finance and Litigation to terminate the collection of such indebtedness.
Employee Personal Property Claims
Counsel client agency claims officers and attorneys who process personal property claims, review claims in excess of $5000, and provide an appellate review function regarding disputed claims. Provide information for potential claimants about filing a personal property claim. See Personal Property Claims.
Counsel and coordinate DOC view regarding whether the Government should seek relief in Qui Tam actions and under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act ("PFCRA"). This includes providing DOC's recommendations to the Department of Justice and providing legal support to DOJ in Qui Tam matters and in the prosecution of PFCRA cases.
Provide defensive environmental support related to the representation of DOC on a variety of isues in litigation, including those arising under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, & Liability Act (Superfund), the National Environmental Policy Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, and a number of other environmental statutes.
If cases in any of the foregoing areas involve litigation, provide legal support to DOJ, including by: 1) gathering documents for production and preparing witnesses for depositions during discovery; 2) researching facts and assisting with memoranda of law for motion practice; and 3) assisting with trial preparations and with appellate briefs for trials and appeals. In addition, when designated, act as Special Trial Attorneys and Special Assistant United States Attorneys.
Coordinate and cooperate with other offices within the Office of the General Counsel in all areas of law as appropriate. Perform special projects as may be directed by the Assistant General Counsel for Litigation, Employment, and Oversight.