Photo of Beth Brinkmann

Beth Brinkmann is a leading national appellate litigator, handling federal and state court matters across the country, and has argued 26 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. Beth also leads constitutional and statutory litigation against federal agency action. Clients regularly turn to Beth for advice on complex legal issues pending in litigation across multiple jurisdictions and Supreme Court strategy.

Beth is co-chair of the firm’s Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation practice.

Beth has argued on behalf of firm clients before the U.S. Supreme Court, representing several major power companies in a leading administrative law case and representing a patent owner in a win against the federal government. She has won significant recent appeals for firm clients in other courts as well, including in the California Supreme Court for a national athletic organization in a tort case; in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for a global bank in an antitrust case; in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for a national financial institution in a class action matter; in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for an online app in an unfair business practice case; and in the DC Circuit in a FCC regulatory matter.

Beth’s litigation for clients against federal agency action in various federal district courts includes obtaining a preliminary injunction to prevent the government’s shutdown of a video-sharing app; winning an action for a global electronics maker against the government’s adverse designation to ban it from U.S. financial markets; and a nationwide preliminary injunction against the government’s proposed most-favored nation drug pricing rule on behalf of a life sciences association.

Before joining the firm, Beth served for more than 15 years in senior litigating positions at the U.S. Department of Justice, most recently as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division. She oversaw the Division’s nationwide appellate litigation, including winning oral arguments in defense of the Affordable Care Act, defense of the President in a national security political question suit, NIH funding of stem cell research, preemption of state immigration statutes, and federal regulation of the Supreme Court terrace. Beth presented congressional testimony and advised cabinet-level department leadership and regulatory agencies on dozens of rulemaking matters, litigation risk assessments, and legislative proposals. Beth previously served as Assistant to the Solicitor General for several years, representing Executive Branch agencies and officials before the U.S. Supreme Court. Beth also previously led a Supreme Court and appellate practice at another national firm, served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender with more than a dozen criminal jury trials, and worked as a public interest litigator, including two civil bench trials.

Over the course of her career, Beth has been recognized as an outstanding appellate advocate by multiple organizations and is regularly invited to speak before legal audiences about the U.S. Supreme Court business docket, appellate advocacy, and government-facing litigation.

The Coalition for Government Procurement and the National Defense Industrial Association filed an amicus brief in the consolidated Supreme Court cases United States ex rel. Schutte v. SuperValu, Inc. and United States ex rel. Proctor v. Safeway, Inc. The brief urges the Court to hold, consistent with the decisions of multiple federal courts of appeals, that a defendant cannot be liable under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) for “knowingly” submitting a “false” claim if (1) it acted in accordance with an objectively reasonable reading of an ambiguous statute, regulation, or contract provision and (2) there was no authoritative guidance warning it away from that interpretation.  The Amici are represented by Covington & Burling LLP. 

In SuperValu and Safeway, the Court is asked to resolve questions over the role that subjective intent plays in evaluating whether a defendant satisfies the FCA’s “knowledge” requirement.  Petitioners argue that a contractor can be liable under the FCA for submitting a claim that is premised on an objectively reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous legal provision if the contractor recognized that the provision could be interpreted a different way.  However, as the amicus brief explains, such a claim cannot be false for alleged noncompliance with the ambiguous legal provision that has not otherwise been clarified by authoritative guidance.  Nor can such a contractor knowingly submit a false claim just because it was aware that the legal obligation may be interpreted differently.

Continue Reading Amici Curiae Submit Brief Urging Supreme Court to Adopt “Objectively Reasonable” FCA Knowledge Standard