Justin T. Berger is a Partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, where he handles high-profile cases of corporate fraud, including representing whistleblowers in qui tam actions under the federal and California False Claims Acts, individuals who have been wrongfully terminated by their employers, and consumers who have been ripped off. Justin handles complex cases across California and around the country.
As a prominent California whistleblower attorney, Justin has been recognized as one of California's top litigators. In 2022, for his work prosecuting healthcare fraud cases under the False Claims Act, Justin was named one of the 25 Top Health Care Lawyers in California by the California Daily Journal. Justin has twice received a California Lawyer Magazine Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award, and in 2019 was named Consumer Attorney of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys of California. Earlier in his career, he was listed by the Daily Journal as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” attorneys in California, and in The Recorder’s "Lawyers on the Fast Track," as one of the top 50 attorneys in California with less than 10 years of practice. Each year since 2013, Justin has been selected as a Northern California “Super Lawyer" by San Francisco Magazine, and from 2009 to 2012, was named as a “Rising Star.”
Justin is active in the community, currently serving on the Board of Directors of the San Mateo County Bar Association, San Mateo County Health Foundation, and Berkeley Law's Civil Justice Research Initiative. He is also the current Board President of Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA), an Oakland-based non-profit serving working class Californians facing economic hardships. For his mentorship of newer and aspiring attorneys in the community, Justin was recently honored with the San Mateo County Bar Association Barristers Award.
"Berger has developed a reputation for handling complex litigation on behalf of employees and consumers. He represents employees in high-stakes whistleblower litigation and has helped his clients win some of the largest recoveries in the history of the False Claims Act." -The Daily Journal
In addition to his work in healthcare fraud and other False Claims Act cases, Justin also represents employees, homeowners and consumers in class actions, cases of financial elder abuse, wage and hour litigation, and other complex cases. Justin is currently lead counsel or co-lead counsel in several consumer class action cases. His first jury trial, Komarova v. National Credit Acceptance, resulted in nomination as a finalist for the 2008 Consumer Attorney of the Year Award by the Consumer Attorneys of California.
Justin received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale University, graduating Cum Laude, with Honors in the Major. He received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. At Berkeley Law, Justin was a member of the California Law Review and the LAS-ELC Workers’ Rights Clinic. In addition, through Berkeley Law's International Human Rights Law Clinic, Justin served on the trial team that successfully prosecuted the case Yean and Bosico v. Dominican Republic before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Following law school, Justin clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston of the Northern District of California.
Prior to law school, Justin served for two years as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador. Justin also served for a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer at Casa Cornelia Law Center, a non-profit immigration law firm in San Diego.
- In 2022, Justin led a successful trial team before a federal jury in San Antonio, Texas, which found in favor of Justin's three whistleblower clients in a case brought under the False Claims Act against Peripheral Vascular Associates ("PVA"), a physician group specializing in peripheral vascular disease. The jury entered a verdict that will result in a damages award of $8.1 million after mandatory tripling under the False Claims Act, along with civil monetary penalties of over $11,000 for each of thousands of false claims submitted to Medicare. The suit alleged that the group overcharged taxpayers when it routinely billed Medicare for ultrasound services that were not provided.
- In 2021, after extensive litigation, Prime Healthcare, its founder and CEO, Dr. Prem Reddy, and a California cardiologist agreed to pay a total of $37.5 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged the for-profit hospital chain paid kickbacks to the cardiologist, buying his practice and surgical center for far more than they were worth. This was the largest settlement ever of a case brought against a hospital over kickbacks allegedly paid to a single physician. Prime operates one of the biggest hospital systems in the nation.
- In 2019, three former lead paint manufacturers agreed to pay $305 million to ten California cities and counties—money that will save tens of thousands of low-income California children from lead poisoning. For his work on the case, Justin was named Consumer Attorney of the Year, along with Joseph W. Cotchett and Mary Alexander, by the Consumer Attorneys of California.
- Justin helped recover $102 million for California taxpayers against BP, in a case under the California False Claims Act alleging that the oil company overcharged the State of California on purchases of natural gas. The case was brought on behalf of a terminated employee, Christopher Schroen.
- Justin represented four former employees of Hyperloop Technologies, Inc. (d/b/a Hyperloop One), former Chief Technology Officer Brogan BamBrogan, Dr. Knut Sauer, David Pendergast, and William Mulholland, in a lawsuit against the company and its CEO Robert Lloyd, Board Chair Shervin Pishevar, Board member Joseph Lonsdale, and former General Counsel Afshin Pishevar (Click here for article).
- Justin obtained $11 million for taxpayers from Marinello Schools of Beauty in a qui tam action filed by six whistleblowers, former employees of Marinello. Based on overlapping allegations, the United States Department of Education denied Marinello’s reapplication to receive federal student loan funds, forcing Marinello to close its doors. Prior to its closure, Marinello was one of the largest chains of for-profit beauty schools in the United States.
- Justin helped recover $75.5 million for taxpayers from VMware, Inc., in a qui tam suit alleging misrepresentations to the federal General Services Administration (GSA). Justin was selected as a finalist for Consumer Attorney of the Year, along with Niall McCarthy, for his work on this case.
- Justin represented the campaign committees of United States Senator Dianne Feinstein and several other elected officials against Kinde Durkee—the “Bernie Madoff of campaign treasurers.” Durkee was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for embezzling millions of dollars from hundreds of campaign and political action committees.
- Justin recovered $19.4 million from Diagnostic Laboratories, Inc., the largest provider of laboratory and x-ray services to nursing homes on the West Coast, in a case brought by two whistleblowers under the False Claims Act.
- In 2011, Justin was selected as a finalist for Consumer Attorney of the Year along with Niall McCarthy, for their work in recovering a record $300 million on behalf of the State of California in a case brought under the California False Claims Act against Quest Diagnostics and other medical laboratories.
- CBS SF Bay Area, 03.18.2022
- Former Tesla Employee Sues Tesla, Alleging Retaliation for Reporting Dangerous Construction Violations and Racial Discrimination02.17.2022
- Prime Healthcare, its founder, and doctor pay $37.5M to settle whistleblower case alleging kickbacks, Stark violations and fraud07.19.2021
- KPIX CBS Bay Area, 04.13.2021
- As CPM Represents Pro Bono the City of San Jose, Supreme Court Rejects Trump Administration Attempt to Dismantle DACA06.18.2020
- After Years of Support from CPM, California Counties and Cities Announce Groundbreaking $305 Million Settlement of Landmark Lead Paint LitigationSF Chronicle, 2020
- CPM Partners and Litigation Experts McCarthy & Berger Receive 2019 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award
- United States Supreme Court Denies Defendant Paint Companies Review of Lead Paint Poisoning Case (Plaintiffs Represented by CPM)10.15.2018
- Federal Judge Rules that CPM Client's Whistleblower Suit Against Boston Heart Diagnostics May Proceed09.12.2018
- With CPM Pro Bono Representation, Federal Judge Protects “Dreamers,” Issues Injunction Against Trump Administration2018
- Modern Healthcare, 02.17.2016
- VMware and Carahsoft to Pay $75.5 Million to Settle False Claims Charge Brought by CPM Whistleblower ClientCorporate Crime Reporter, 06.30.2015
- CPM Files Whistleblower Case, Alleging BP Overcharged California for Natural Gas, California Attorney General Joins Lawsuit
- California A.G.’s Office Joins Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy's Whistleblower Case Charging BP in Natural Gas Ripoff11.13.2014
- Washington Post, 07.17.2014
- First California Bank of LA Agrees to Multimillion Dollar Settlement for CPM Client U.S. Senator Feinstein & Other CA Federal & State Lawmakers07.16.2014
- NBC Southern California, 02.25.2014
- Advocates for Justice, 02.03.2023
- Advocates for Justice, 01.10.2023
- Advocates for Justice, 03.24.2022
- Advocates for Justice, 03.23.2022
- Advocates for Justice, 03.22.2022
- Advocates for Justice, 03.01.2021
- Advocates for Justice, 09.10.2020
- Advocates for Justice, 08.14.2020
- Advocates for Justice, 07.14.2020
- Advocates for Justice, 07.30.2019
- Advocates for Justice, 08.15.2018
- Advocates for Justice, 06.27.2018
- Advocates for Justice, 06.14.2018
- Advocates for Justice, 06.11.2018
- Advocates for Justice, 06.04.2018
- Advocates for Justice, 05.31.2018
- Advocates for Justice, 05.08.2018
- Advocates for Justice, 01.17.2018
- Advocates for Justice, 01.11.2018
- Advocates for Justice, 01.11.2018
- Advocates for Justice, 12.29.2016
- Advocates for Justice, 09.27.2016
- Advocates for Justice, 03.04.2016
- Advocates for Justice, 02.08.2016
- Damages under Fair Debt Collection Practice Act Class Actions: The Damages Cap Applies Only to Statutory DamagesAdvocates for Justice, 01.09.2016
- “Proceeds” Means Proceeds: Relators Are Entitled to a Share of All Taxpayer Money Recouped Through False Claims Act LawsuitsAdvocates for Justice, 01.09.2016
- Advocates for Justice, 01.09.2016
- Advocates for Justice, 11.24.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 08.20.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 08.17.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 08.12.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 07.09.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 06.30.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 06.29.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 06.25.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 05.13.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 05.05.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 04.09.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 04.03.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 03.31.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 03.19.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 02.27.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 02.21.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 02.09.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 01.28.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 01.20.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 01.09.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 01.02.2015
- Advocates for Justice, 12.16.2014
- Advocates for Justice, 11.26.2014
- Advocates for Justice, 11.13.2014
- “The Outsiders”: New Ninth Circuit Ruling on the Public-Disclosure Bar and Original Source ExceptionAdvocates for Justice, 11.11.2014
- Advocates for Justice, 11.04.2014
- Advocates for Justice, 11.03.2014
- Advocates for Justice, 10.29.2014
- Advocates for Justice, 10.04.2014
- Advocates for Justice, 09.28.2014
Honors & Awards
Honors & Recognitions
California Daily Journal, "Top Health Care Lawyers" (2022)
Consumer Attorney of the Year, Consumer Attorneys of California (2019)
California Lawyer Magazine Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award (2012, 2019)
California Daily Journal, "Top 40 Under 40" (2017)
Selected by The Recorder in 2012 as a "Lawyer on the Fast Track," one of the top 50 attorneys in California under 10 years of practice (2012)
Named a finalist for the 2011 Consumer Attorney of the Year Award by the Consumer Attorneys of California (2011)
Honored as a Northern California "Super Lawyer," by Northern California Super Lawyers and San Francisco Magazine (2013-2021), and “Rising Star” (2009-2012)
Named a finalist for the 2008 Consumer Attorney of the Year Award by the Consumer Attorneys of California (2008)
American Bar Association
California Bar Association
San Mateo County Bar Association
Consumer Attorneys of California
American Business Trial Lawyers
San Mateo County Trial Lawyers Association
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Taxpayers Against Fraud
San Mateo County Health Foundation (Board Member, 2022-present)
Taxpayers Against Fraud (TAF) (Education Committee Member, 2020-2023)
Berkeley Law, Civil Justice Research Initiative (Board Member, 2019-present)
Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (Board President, 2018-present)
San Mateo County Bar Association (Board Member, 2020-present)
Northern California Peace Corps Association (Board Secretary, former)
San Mateo County Barristers (President, 2013-2014)
San Diego Peace Corps Association (Board Member, former)
Americorps-Vista Volunteer, Casa Cornelia Law Center (2002-2003)
United States Peace Corps Volunteer, Ecuador (1999-2001)
University of California, Berkeley School of Law, J.D., 2006
Yale University, B.A.
- Cum Laude
- Honors in the Major
- U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston of the Northern District of California
- All Federal Courts in California
- 4th Circuit Court of Appeals
- 9th Circuit Court of Appeals