Addition of McKnight & Kennedy, LLC Creates National False Claims Act Powerhouse
Ross Brooks and Andrew Melzer Promoted to Partnership
March 31, 2014, Washington, DC – Sanford Heisler LLP, a leading national public interest class-action litigation law firm with nearly one billion dollars in False Claims Act recovery, today welcomed two of the most successful False Claims Act attorneys in the U.S. as new partners in its Washington, D.C. office and elevated two attorneys in its New York office to partner.
The Firm of McKnight & Kennedy, LLC Joins Sanford Heisler, LLP
H. Vincent McKnight, Jr., and Altomease R. “Al” Kennedy, former principals of McKnight & Kennedy LLC, each have more than 35 years of litigation experience in the nation’s capital. With a focus in General Services Administration procurement, they have amassed more than $150 million in GSA recoveries. McKnight & Kennedy was founded in the nation’s capital in 2009. Prior to starting the firm, they were co-lead counsel for the Relator in the then largest-ever GSA procurement fraud settlement in history.
“I have worked with Vince and Al for a decade, and this move is a natural outgrowth of our successful history of collaboration,” said David Sanford, Chairman of Sanford Heisler. “Both Vince and Al have deep roots in D.C., and vast experience in litigating employment, personal injury, medical malpractice and False Claims Act matters. The combination of our joint experience gives Sanford Heisler resources to represent individuals in Washington, D.C. and throughout the nation in whistleblower and complex litigation matters that few, if any, firms can match.”
McKnight will be the Co-Chair of Sanford Heisler’s National Whistleblower Practice with Ross Brooks, who was recently promoted to partner in the firm’s New York office.
“This move affords us an exciting opportunity to broaden our reach in False Claims Act and other key litigation areas,” said McKnight. “Adding more than three decades of our experience to Sanford Heisler’s national resources and enviable record of litigation success will make the firm yet more formidable.”
Although McKnight and Kennedy are nationally recognized as leading practitioners representing whistleblowers under the federal False Claims Act, both have diverse and distinguished litigation records.
Born in Washington, D.C., with deep roots in the community, McKnight has extensive litigation experience, having tried many cases on behalf of plaintiffs in claims involving personal injury, the Federal Employers Liability Act, employment discrimination and medical malpractice. McKnight is known, in part, for his victory in the first ever departure from the employment-at-will doctrine in the D.C. Court of Appeals. A co-founder of the Qui Tam Litigation Subgroup of the American Trial Lawyers Association, McKnight regularly lectures and teaches on topics related to the False Claims Act and qui tam enforcement for professional audiences. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Kennedy has extensive litigation experience having tried many cases to verdict over her career. She has worked for the National Urban League; worked as a trial attorney for the United States Department of Commerce; worked in the Office of General Counsel for PEPCO; worked as a partner at Ashcraft & Gerel, LLP; and was a founding member of McKnight & Kennedy. She graduated from Georgetown University Law School.
John McKnight will also join Sanford Heisler as an associate in the firm’s D.C office providing support for the firm’s qui tam practice. He graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law.
Sanford Heisler Promotes Ross B. Brooks to Partner and to Co-Chair the Firm’s Whistleblower Practice
Sanford Heisler promoted Ross B. Brooks to Partner in its New York office. Brooks has led Sanford Heisler’s whistleblower practice since his arrival at the firm as Senior Litigation Counsel in 2012. He will Co-Chair the firm’s whistleblower practice with H. Vince McKnight. Jr.
Brooks has been counsel in False Claims Act matters that have returned nearly 1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars to the Government. He was counsel to the whistleblowers in the two largest False Claims Act settlements ever achieved after the Government declined to intervene
Prior to joining Sanford Heisler, Brooks was a partner with Milberg, LLP, where he focused his practice on the representation of whistleblowers, public and private payors and injured consumers in class action and False Claims Act litigation. While at Milberg, Brooks played a primary role in the formation and development of Milberg’s whistleblower practice. He began his career working in the defense bar on behalf of Fortune 500 companies in complex commercial litigation. Brooks graduated from the University of Chicago School of Law.
David Sanford stated that the elevation of Ross Brooks is further evidence of the firm’s commitment to expanding the reach of its whistleblower practice. “Ross has encyclopedic knowledge of False Claims Act law and practice. He is one of a small cadre of practitioners, along with Vince and Al, to be successful in this area of law on a national scale. His successes at Sanford Heisler bolstered the firm’s resolve to further grow the practice.”
Sanford Heisler Promotes Andrew Melzer to Partner in the Firm’s New York Office
Sanford Heisler also promoted Andrew Melzer to partner in the firm’s New York office. Mr. Mr. Melzer has been with the Firm since 2007. He manages all aspects of complex litigation and is currently actively involved in several cases, including Tian, et al. v. Ma Laboratories, Inc., a wage and hour class action filed on behalf of sales employees in California; Pendergrass et al v. City Gear, a wage and hour action filed on behalf of retail Store Managers and Assistant Managers in the Southern and Midwestern region of the United States; and da Silva Moore et al v. Publicis Groupe SA, a nationwide gender discrimination action filed on behalf of management-level employees in the public relations industry. Melzer graduated from New York University Law School.
Jeremy Heisler, Managing Partner of Sanford Heisler’s New York office, added, “Andrew is one of the most accomplished wage and hour attorneys in the United States, has successfully conducted trials for the firm, and is a tenacious litigator. His elevation to partner is well-deserved.”
About Sanford Heisler LLP
Sanford Heisler LLP is a leading national public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in Washington, D.C., New York, and San Francisco. The firm specializes in civil rights and general public interest cases including employment discrimination, wage and hour, whistleblower, consumer and complex corporate class action litigation. The firm has successfully represented thousands of individuals in major class action cases across the United States, and also represents individual clients in employment, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblower, public accommodations, and medical malpractice matters.
Sanford Heisler achieved the largest verdict in United States history in its gender discrimination class action trial against Novartis Pharmaceuticals. The firm currently has individual, multi-party and class litigation pending throughout the United States on behalf of individuals against corporations. Sanford Heisler is also one of the most successful firms prosecuting False Claims Act matters in conjunction with the Department of Justice.