David K. Colapinto


David K.Colapinto

David K. Colapinto is a nationally recognized advocate for whistleblowers specializing in Qui Tam/False Claims Act, Dodd-Frank Act SEC whistleblower claims, IRS whistleblower claims, Freedom of Information and Privacy Act litigation, and whistleblower discrimination and retaliation litigation. He has more than 25 years of experience successfully representing many whistleblowers in state and federal courts and before numerous agencies. He played a central role in securing whistleblower protections for FBI employees, successfully representing Dr. Fredric Whitehurst, the FBI lab forensics expert who suffered retaliation after reporting serious misconduct and poor lab practices at the FBI.  He was lead counsel for the whistleblower in a major qui tam/False Claims action against the drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb, helping to recover more than $500 million for U.S. taxpayers and the government. He served as co-counsel in Linda Tripp’s successful lawsuit citing Privacy Act violations by the Department of Defense, and co-counsel for Bradley Birkenfeld helping to recover the largest ever tax whistleblower award ($104 million) for Mr. Birkenfeld in 2012. Mr. Colapinto is an experienced litigator and has established important precedent under the Freedom of Information Act. He is co-founder of the National Whistleblowers Center and a Trustee of the National Whistleblowers Legal Defense & Education Fund.

Curriculum Vitae

Practice Areas

Bar Admissions


  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • District of Columbia


  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts


  • J.D.  Antioch School of Law (1987)
  • B.S.  Boston University (1984)


Successful Legal Advocacy

  • In re Bradley Birkenfeld. Co-counsel, represented most important tax whistleblower in U.S. history. Obtained largest reward ever granted an individual whistleblower under U.S. law ($104 million dollar award for Mr. Birkenfeld).
  • Convertino v. Department of Justice, 684 F.3d 93 (D.C. Cir. 2012). Reversal of summary judgment ruling on high-profile Privacy Act case concerning former top U.S. prosecutor.
  • Day v. Dept. of Homeland Security, (MSPB June 26, 2013). Co-counsel for public interest group in Amicus Curiae brief successfully arguing that certain provisions of Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act were clarification of existing law justifying application to pending cases.
  • Edmonds v. FBI, 417 F.3d 1319 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (argued). Successful representation of FBI translator in proceedings before the Office of Inspector General and under the Freedom of Information Act.  Lead counsel in D.C. Circuit appeal holding that an order expediting FOIA request satisfies prevailing party standard for award of attorney fees.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Waffle House, 534 U.S. 279, 122 S.Ct. 724 (2001). Co-counsel for public interest group as Amicus Curiae in case concerning impact of an arbitration agreement on EEOC’s authority to seek relief for victims of discrimination.
  • Gaballa v. Atlantic Group, Case No. 94-ERA-9 (U.S. Dept. of Labor). Lead counsel in precedent setting ligitation before the Secretary of Labor establishing standards for blacklisting cases and obtaining award of compensatory damages.
  • Garner v. M-K Ferguson Corp., 456 S.E.2d 907 (S.C. 1995). Served as co-counsel in the first state Supreme Court case to obtain the right to a jury trial under state employment law for a whistleblower at a nuclear weapons plant.
  • Greenhouse v. Army Corps of Engineers. Successful representation of top army contracting officer who exposed illegal no-bid contracts awarded to Halliburton for the Iraq War.
  • Hashimoto v. Bank of Hawaii, 999 F.2d 408 (9th Cir. 1993). Co-counsel in successful appeal reversing summary judgment, recognizing cause of action for whistleblower retaliation under ERISA and remanding for trial.
  • Hobby v. Georgia Power Co.Case No. 90-ERA-30 (U.S. Dept. of Labor), No. 01-10916 (11th Cir. 2002). Co-counsel in judicial and administrative litigation over a ten-year period establishing numerous precedents in Labor Department corporate whistleblower cases regarding liability and damages available to high ranking corporate officers. Georgia Power’s total liability exceeded $5,000,000.00.
  • Ikossi v. Department of the Navy, 516 F.3d 1037 (D.C. Cir. 2008). Co-Counsel in case establishing precedent under the “mixed case” doctrine, carving out an exception for federal employees to file claims in federal court.
  • Kobus v. FBI, OARM-WB No. 06-3. Lead Counsel in a successful case before the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management on behalf of an FBI employee who reported wrongdoing as part of his ordinary oversight role at the FBI and was retaliated against. Whistleblower’s profile of Mr. Kobus.
  • Levellie v. New York Air National Guard, Case No. 94-ERA-9 (U.S. Dept. of Labor). Lead counsel in precedent setting litigation establishing standards for “badmouthing” cases under environmental whistleblower laws and obtaining award of compensatory damages.
  • Mitchell v. Arizona Public Service Co., Case No. 91-ERA-9 (U.S. Dept. of Labor). First ever decision applying “hostile work environment” doctrine in nuclear whistleblower case. Prevailed in merits hearing and obtained compensatory damage award.
  • Murphy v. IRS460 F.3d 79 (D.C. Cir. 2006). First successful constitutional challenge under the 16th Amendment to the taxation of compensatory damages. Decision vacated and reversed on other constitutional grounds, 493 F.3d 170 (D.C. Cir. 2007), rehearing, en banc, denied by Murphy v. IRS, 2007 U.S. App. 05-5139 (D.C. Cir., 2007), certiorari denied by Murphy v. IRS, 2008 U.S. 05-5139 (U.S., Apr. 21, 2008).
  • NACDL, et al. v. Department of Justice, 182 F.3d 981 (D.C. Cir. 1999). Successful Freedom of Information litigation resulting in the release of the DOJ Inspector General report exposing high- level misconduct within the FBI crime lab, and awarding interim attorneys fees under FOIA.
  • Nat’l Whistleblower Ctr. v. HHS, 904 F. Supp. 2d 59 (D.D.C. 2012). Preliminary injunction forcing FDA to immediately release records related to FDA’s email monitoring of employee-whistleblowers; precedent holding that agencies waive right to withhold privileged documents that contain strong evidence of government misconduct.
  • People v. O.J. Simpson. Represented leading FBI forensic chemist and during two days of confidential depositions in the O.J. Simpson criminal trial.
  • U.S. ex rel. Barko v. Halliburton952 F. Supp 2d 108 (D.D.C. July 8, 2013).  Co-counsel for Plaintiff-Relator in False Claims Act case alleging Iraq War contracting fraud.  Successfully prevailed on motions and obtained order denying motions to dismiss and finding jurisdiction over subcontractor based in Jordan. The D.C. district court has ordered the release of incriminating documents which Halliburton had repeatedly attempted to keep out of court, claiming Attorney-client privilege. Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto has also filed a petition for Writ of Certiorari, available here. (May 7, 2014 Oral Argument Available Here).
  • U.S. ex rel. Gibbs v. MTI, (D.D.C.). False Claims Act qui tam whistleblower case brought by a former manager at a defense contracting firm alleging that the firm double-billed the government for labor and parts. The case settled shortly after the relator died. Successfully concluded the case and obtained close to a million dollars on behalf of the U.S. taxpayers, which was split between the U.S. and the whistleblower’s estate.
  • U.S. ex rel. Harris v. J.P. Morgan Chase, (D. Mass.). Lead counsel under the False Claims Act for wrongful foreclosures on residential mortgages, resulting in U.S. intervention and obtaining $6.19 million settlement of False Claims Act case.
  • U.S. ex rel. Irwin v. Significant Education, (D. Ariz Feb. 10, 2009), (D. Ariz. June 7, 2011). Co-counsel under the False Claims Act for illegal recruiting of students at private, for-profit university. Obtained $5.2 million settlement on behalf of relator and United States, and a 28% “relator’s share.”
  • U.S. ex rel. Richardson v. Bristol Myers Squibb. Lead counsel for employee relator in one of the largest pharmaceutical False Claims Act cases successfully resolved in the United States, resulting in civil payments to government of over $500 million dollars.
  • U.S. ex rel. Westrick v. Second Chance Body Armor, et al., 685 F. Supp. 2d 129 (D.D.C. 2010). Co-counsel for employee relator in False Claims Act litigation against manufacturer and supplier of material for defective bullet proof vests. United States intervened.
  • U.S., Virginia and the District of Columbia, ex rel. Shahiq  Khwaja v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, et al.1:12-cv-00268-RJL (D.D.C.). Co-counsel for employee relator in False Claims Act against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for illegally awarding a 14 million dollar contract to Metaformers Inc.
  • U.S. v. McVeigh and U.S. v. Nichols. Co-counsel for leading FBI explosives expert in various proceedings related to the Oklahoma City bombing case, including confidential depositions, represented expert witness in live testimony in the Nichols state trial, proceedings before the DOJ Office of Inspector General and obtaining a temporary restraining order and injunction from U.S. District Court prohibiting witness intimidation. Reported widely in the national press.
  • U.S. v. Rahman and U.S. v. Salemeh (first World Trade Center bombing cases). Co-counsel for leading FBI explosives expert concerning forensic misconduct in the first and second World Trade Center bombing cases. Widely reported in the national press.
  • Linda Tripp v. Department of Defense104 F. Supp.2d 30 (D.D.C. 2000), 99-2554 (2001)  173 F.Supp. 2d 58 (D.D.C. 2001), 193 F.Supp.2d 229 (D.D.C. 2002), 01-157 (D.D.C 2002) 219 F.Supp.2d 85 (D.D.C. 2002),  99-2554 (D.D.C. 2002)  257 F.Supp.2d 37 (D.D.C. 2003), 194 F.R.D. 344 (D.D.C. 2000) and  200 F.R.D. 140 (D.D.C. 2001).  Co-counsel for precedent setting litigation on behalf of nationally recognized whistleblower. Case resulted in one of the largest Privacy Act settlements ever awarded by the U.S. government.
  • Vermont Agency of Natural Resources v. U.S. ex rel. Stevens, 529 U.S. 765 (2000). Co-counsel for public interest group in Amicus Curiae brief filed in case upholding the constitutionality of key provisions of the False Claim Act.
  • Villanueva v. FBI, No. 98-CV-01704 (D.D.C.). Obtained right of FBI agents to pursue claims under the First Amendment based on illegal retaliation for First Amendment protected speech.
  • Dr. Frederic Whitehurst v. FBI. Successfully represented first nationally recognized FBI whistleblower. Case resulted in President Clinton ordering the Attorney General to establish whistleblower protections for FBI employees for the first time. See Memorandum of President William Jefferson Clinton, Vol. 62 Federal Register No. 81, p. 23123 (April 14, 1997). In addition, the case achieved the accreditation of the FBI crime laboratory and the re-opening and/or review of thousands of criminal cases tainted by fraudulent laboratory procedures. Dr. Whitehurst obtained a final million-dollar plus settlement to resolve allegations of violations of the Privacy Act and other federal laws.
  • Youssef v. FBI, 687 F.3d 1332 (D.C. Cir. 2012). Co-counsel in successful appeal filed on behalf of the highest-ranking Arab American FBI agent who exposed discriminatory practices and weaknesses in the FBI counterterrorism program.



House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform “The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009” May 14, 2009


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