Melissa B. Coffey

Partner

Overview

Melissa Coffey is a partner with Foley & Lardner LLP, where she is vice chair of the Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations Practice. Her practice concentrates on representing companies and individuals in investigations and proceedings involving the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and other regulators. Ms. Coffey also has extensive experience conducting internal investigations. 

Ms. Coffey has experience with False Claims Act qui tam (whistleblower) investigations and litigation, representation of public companies and their officers, directors and employees in SEC enforcement matters, representation of accounting firms in PCAOB enforcement matters, and internal and government investigations and related litigation, all involving a variety of alleged wrongdoing. She also has diverse experience with complex civil litigation. Ms. Coffey has represented individuals and private and public companies in the accounting, retail, financial services, pharmaceutical, home health, medical supplies, automotive and high technology industries, among others.

Ms. Coffey also has extensive experience with facilitating the efficient review of large volumes of electronic data, including through predictive coding, in connection with internal and government investigations. She is a member of the firm’s e-Discovery committee.

Prior to joining Foley, Ms. Coffey worked for WilmerHale LLP in Boston, where she focused on securities litigation and enforcement matters, pharmaceutical investigations and other white-collar matters, and complex commercial litigation.

Representative Experience

Ms. Coffey’s representative experience includes:

  • Closing of SEC insider trading investigation involving a broker-dealer
  • Favorable resolution of DOJ False Claims Act investigation and related litigation involving home health agency, part of a major healthcare services company
  • Representation of retailer in an internal and SEC investigation involving alleged accounting fraud relating to the accounting for markdowns
  • Representation of accounting firms in a variety of PCAOB enforcement investigations
  •  Representation of securities lending executives in civil litigation and an SEC investigation of a major financial institution, which the SEC declined to pursue
  • Representation of current and former employees of pharmaceutical companies in federal grand jury investigations involving potential False Claims Act allegations
  • Winning a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on behalf of an international insurance company

Education

Ms. Coffey received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University (A.B., cum laude, 2001) and her law degree from Boston College Law School (J.D., magna cum laude, 2004). She was a member of the Boston College Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. Following law school, Ms. Coffey served a judicial clerkship with the Honorable D. Brock Hornby of the U.S. District Court, District of Maine.

Admissions and Professional Memberships

Ms. Coffey is a member of the Florida Bar Civil Procedure Rules Committee (2017 – 2020), the American Bar Association, and the Women’s White Collar Defense Association (http://wwcda.org/).

She is admitted to practice in Florida and Massachusetts, and before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Middle, Northern, and Southern Districts of Florida; the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida; the First Circuit Court of Appeals; and the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Representative Matters

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Represented a provider group in False Claims Act litigation filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. The relator, a former employee, alleged Stark violations, upcoding, retaliatory discharge, and other alleged acts that the relator contends violate the False Claims Act. The provider group has asserted claims against the former employee for theft, conversion, and breach of fiduciary duty.
Foley represents various senior officers in State Street's securities lending division in connection with litigation brought by the public pension fund in Missouri against State Street for practices that are alleged to have occurred immediately after the Lehman Bros. bankruptcy and thereafter. The litigation followed an SEC investigation of these practices which concluded without charges being brought against any of Foley's clients.
Successfully defended three senior securities lending executives in connection with the SEC's investigation of their and their employer's activities immediately following the Lehman Bros. collapse. The SEC sought to determine whether the institution, acting through these and other executives, had made material misrepresentations and favored certain clients in permitting isolated redemptions of securities invested in the program. After a lengthy investigation, the SEC declined to pursue the matter further.

Insights

Supreme Court Maximizes Statute of Limitations for Relators Suing Under the False Claims Act
31 May 2019
Health Care Law Today
Post-Granston Memo, DOJ Can Use Its Dismissal Authority, but Not Without Limits
16 May 2019
Legal News: Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations
New DOJ Guidance on Cooperation in False Claims Act Cases
10 May 2019
Legal News: Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations
Health Care Company Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Find False Claims Act Unconstitutional
09 May 2019
Legal News: Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations