Lisa Fishberg and David Dickieson obtained a summary judgment dismissing all claims of fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract against their client. The dispute involved the sale of a $4.2 million residential property in the District of Columbia. The client’s claims for attorneys fee in defending against the suit remain to be determined by the District of Columbia Superior Court.
A lawsuit originally brought by Schertler & Onorato’s client under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act has resulted in a $24.5 million settlement to be paid to the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice announced the settlement in a press release on July 21, 2014. In 2013, the United States intervened in the client’s lawsuit, which alleged that certain Alabama medical entities had violated federal anti–kickback statutes through their Medicare billing and physician referral practices. The firm’s client, a physician formerly employed by the defendant health care entities, will receive a $4.41 million share of the settlement under the applicable whistleblower provisions. Schertler & Onorato attorneys David Schertler, David Dickieson, and Robert Spagnoletti were co–counsel, along with Coumanis & York, to the whistleblower/relator.
David Schertler, Danny Onorato, David Dickieson, and Stuart Sears are recognized in the 2014 Super Lawyers list of outstanding attorneys in Washington, D.C. Mr. Schertler received Super Lawyers recognition in the area of white–collar criminal defense. Mr. Onorato and Mr. Sears were named Super Lawyers in the area of non–white–collar criminal defense. Mr. Dickieson was a Super Lawyers honoree in tax matters. The rigorous selection process utilized by Super Lawyers includes both peer evaluation and independent research.
David Dickieson obtained an arbitration award in excess of $500,000 for a high–profile sports agent. The agent was seeking payment of contract advisor fees and loans owed by a former client with the Philadelphia Eagles. The arbitration award was issued by the National Football League Players Association Arbitrator through procedures mandated by the NFLPA.
Danny Onorato obtains a complete acquittal on assault and weapon charges filed against a prominent D.C. mixologist. The trial took place in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Mr. Onorato successfully argued that the firm’s client, who testified at trial, had acted in self–defense.
Robert Spagnoletti testified in the Southwark Crown Court in London, England as an expert on American legal ethics. A District of Columbia lawyer was accused of committing misconduct in the representation of a client who was a witness in a British criminal proceeding. The Court entertained expert testimony on whether that attorney committed misconduct under the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct. Mr. Spagnoletti assessed the actions of the lawyer and opined that he committed no misconduct. The Crown Court agreed and found that the attorney acted within ethical bounds.
In the Eastern District of Virginia, Stuart Sears obtained a significant downward variance to a 15–day sentence in a bribery case in which the advisory Guidelines range was 46 to 57 months. The client, a former Virginia DMV official, had previously pled guilty to accepting money in exchange for issuing official documents to ineligible applicants. Mr. Sears formulated the successful sentencing arguments and presented them in both a written submission and orally in court.
David Schertler will address issues relating to parallel civil and criminal enforcement proceedings as a panelist at the Physicians and Hospitals Law Institute in New Orleans. The Institute is sponsored by the American Health Lawyers Association and focuses on legal challenges faced by physicians, hospitals, health systems, and their counsel.
David Schertler, Danny Onorato and Lisa Schertler were successful in obtaining a probationary sentence for their client in connection with a federal bribery and procurement fraud case in the District of Utah. The case, which was prosecuted by the Department of Justice Public Integrity Section, involved a government contractor subjected to a demand from an Air Force procurement officer for more than $1 million in illegal payments. The firm’s client, an employee and co–owner of the contracting business, pled guilty only to misprision of a felony and, in exchange, the government dismissed conspiracy and bribery charges. The client faced an advisory Guidelines range of 21 to 27 months, but the federal District Court Judge found justification for a downward variance and imposed a 24–month probationary sentence instead.
On remand following a favorable decision in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Schertler & Onorato obtains a time–served sentence for its client. The resentencing occurred in a criminal trademark counterfeiting case in the Eastern District of Virginia, and the time –served sentence constituted nearly a 20–month reduction of the client’s original sentence. Stuart Sears, Lisa Schertler, and Danny Onorato handled the resentencing, and Ms. Schertler briefed and argued the case on appeal.
Washingtonian magazine names David Schertler, Danny Onorato, and Pamela Satterfield to its "Best Lawyers" list for 2013. Mr. Schertler and Mr. Onorato were identified as two of Washington’s top lawyers in both white–collar and non–white–collar criminal defense, and Ms. Satterfield received recognition in the area of non–white–collar criminal defense. To formulate its biannual list, Washingtonian surveyed thousands of lawyers about "whom they deemed the best among their peers" and conducted independent research on the candidates and their recent successes and accomplishments.
David Schertler will be a panelist at the 1st Annual Midwest Regional Anti–Corruption Seminar, which has drawn prominent members of the white–collar bar to address current issues relating to government investigations and compliance, public integrity, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Schertler & Onorato is also a chair of the event, which will take place in January 2014 in Detroit, Michigan.
For a third consecutive year, Best Law Firms, a joint publication of U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers, has ranked Schertler & Onorato a first–tier law firm in Washington for white–collar and non–white–collar criminal defense. Firms included in the 2014 "Best Law Firms" list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.
Schertler & Onorato announces its support of the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys. The Bishop Walker School is a tuition–free Episcopal school for boys from low–income families that opened in the Southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C. in 2008. Its mission is to provide boys from underprivileged urban backgrounds a quality education, moral guidance, and the opportunity to reach their full potential as students and citizens.
For more information, visit www.bishopwalkerschool.org.
David Schertler and Danny Onorato have again been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America, the oldest and most respected peer–review publication in the legal profession. For 2014, Mr. Schertler has been named a top lawyer in the nation in both white–collar and non–white collar criminal defense. Mr. Onorato’s 2014 Best Lawyers recognition is in the practice area of non–white collar criminal defense. The prestigious Best Lawyers guide was first published in 1983 and is universally regarded as the most reliable source of legal referrals available anywhere due to its rigorous, exhaustive, and unbiased selection process.
The U.S. Department of Justice has issued a press release announcing its decision to intervene in a civil lawsuit brought by a client of Schertler & Onorato against several health care entities under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The action is pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama and alleges that the defendant medical entities violated federal anti–kickback statutes through their Medicare billing and physician referral practices. Schertler & Onorato attorneys David Schertler, David Dickieson, and Habib Ilahi are co–counsel, along with Coumanis & York, to the whistleblower/relator, a cardiologist who became aware of the challenged practices during his previous employment with the defendant health care entities.
Schertler & Onorato attorneys David Schertler, Danny Onorato, David Dickieson, and Stuart Sears are recognized in the 2013 Super Lawyers list of outstanding attorneys in Washington, D.C. Mr. Schertler was named to the elite list of the "Top 100" attorneys in Washington and was rated a leading practitioner in the area of white collar criminal defense. Mr. Onorato received Super Lawyer recognition in the area of criminal defense, and Mr. Sears was named a "Rising Star" in the same field. Mr. Dickieson was named a Super Lawyer in tax matters. The rigorous selection process utilized by Super Lawyers includes both peer evaluation and independent research. The results of the rating process appeared in the Washington Post Magazine.
Schertler & Onorato obtains a significant appellate victory in a criminal trademark counterfeiting case in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The Court vacated several of our client’s convictions and concluded, on an important matter of first impression, that the government had pursued an overly–aggressive theory of trademark counterfeiting that was unsupported by the federal criminal statute. The firm’s appellate specialist, Lisa H. Schertler, briefed and argued the case.
Schertler & Onorato proves its client’s "actual innocence" in a contested proceeding to seal criminal records. The evidentiary hearing took place in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and involved a client who was initially arrested for a felony offense and then was charged by the United States Attorney’s Office with multiple misdemeanor offenses in 2011. The charges were dismissed pursuant to a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, and Schertler & Onorato counsel Lisa Manning subsequently moved to seal all records of the arrest and court proceedings, including the pertinent records in the FBI’s national arrest database, on grounds of the client’s actual innocence. The Superior Court granted the motion over the government’s opposition, finding that the client did not commit any of the offenses with which he had been charged. Ms. Manning has extensive experience in criminal record mitigation matters in multiple jurisdictions.
The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers names David Schertler to its elite list of leading lawyers in the field of Business Crime Defense for 2013. Only 535 practitioners worldwide received this recognition. Attorneys were selected for the list based on a survey of law firm clients and business crime defense lawyers from around the world.