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Courage. Perseverance. Integrity. Susan Coler is energized and inspired daily by all her clients bring to their fight against fraud. A Partner at Halunen Law, Susan represents whistleblowers across the United States in many different industries who challenge illegal corporate conduct, including fraud against the government. As a Labor and Employment Law Specialist, Susan has also brought successful retaliation claims in connection with False Claims Act (FCA) /qui tam cases and as stand-alone actions.
Susan represented a relator in an FCA claim against Abbott Laboratories that resulted in a civil settlement of $800 million (total settlement of $1.5 billion). This was the fifth largest civil healthcare recovery ever achieved under the FCA. Her expertise also takes her to less visible but important cases and causes across the United States. Believing that smaller companies cannot be allowed to commit fraud “under the radar,” Susan represents whistleblowers in cases involving smaller-scale fraud. The cases, large and small, include fraud against the government in the areas of pharmaceutical sales, defense contracting, provision of health care and home health services, general government sales and small business set asides.
Susan speaks regularly at local, regional, and national legal conferences on whistleblower-related topics, the False Claims Act and employment law. Susan is rated as AV®-Preeminent by the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review and has consistently been named a “Super Lawyer” since 2008. She also received the 2015 Karla Wahl Dedicated Advocacy Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association. She is a Board Member for Gender Justice, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy organization devoted to addressing the causes and consequences of gender inequality.
A graduate of Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois, Susan served on the Northwestern Law Review, worked in the Legal Clinic, and graduated Cum Laude and Order of the Coif. She then served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert G. Renner in the United States District Court, District of Minnesota. She also has graduate degrees in music and pastoral studies.
Motivated by the power of whistleblowers to achieve systemic change—and outraged at the mistreatment of those who blow the whistle on corporate wrongdoing—Susan is driven to confront illegal corporate conduct and pursue justice on behalf of her courageous clients.
- False Claims Act (Qui Tam) Whistleblower Representation
- IRS Whistleblower Representation
- SEC Whistleblower Representation
- CFTC Whisteblower Representation
- FCPA Whistleblower Representation
- FIRREA Whistleblower Representation
- Whistleblower Employment Retaliation
- Whistleblower Protection
- Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, Illinois
- Juris Doctor–Cum Laude – 1989
- Honors: Order of the Coif
- Law Review: Northwestern University Law Review, 1987 – 1989
- Loyola University
- Major: Pastoral Studies
- University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory
- Major: Music History
- Mundelein College, Chicago, Illinois
- B.A. (Summa Cum Laude) – 1971
- Major: Music
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Tax Payers Against Fraud (TAF)
- National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA)
- NELA – Minnesota Chapter
- Federal Bar Association
- MSBA Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist
- “Handling Class Actions under the ADEA”, (Co-Author with Laurie A. McCann, Cathy Ventrell-Monsees), Employee Rights and Employment Law Journal (Chicago-Kent College of Law/Illinois Institute of Technology), Vol. 10, Number 2, 2006
- “False CLaims Act 101 – What’s a Whistleblower to Do?” Eighth Circuit NELA Conference, 2018.
- “Practical Issues in Damages Calculations,” Taxpayers Against Fraud National Conference, November 2017
- “The False Claims Act – Opportunities and Pratfalls,” Minnesota Association for Justice, 35thAnnual Convention, 2017
- “Employment Law: Navigating Lincoln’s Law – The False Claims Act for Employment Lawyers,” Minnesota CLE Webcast, 2017
- “Not to be Overlooked – The Nuts and Bolts of 3730(h) Claims,” 2016 Taxpayers Against Fraud National Conference, September 2016
- “There’s No Smoking Gun: Proving Discrimination & Retaliation by Pretext,” National NELA Convention June, 2016
- “Pratfalls, Cat’s Paws, and Fact Questions: Maximizing the Potential in Employee Retaliation Claims,” Minnesota CLE Webcast, July 2016
- “There’s No Smoking Gun: Plaintiffs’ Perspective on Proving Discrimination and Retaliation by Pretext,” Minnesota Employment Law Institute, May 2015
- “Cutting Edge ADEA Issues in Litigation,” Employment Law Institute, May 2014
- “The MHRA Right to a Jury Trial—When Does It Apply?” Minnesota NELA, 2014
- “Tips and Strategies for Intersectional Discrimination Claims,” Minnesota NELA 2014
- Radio Interview: “Whistleblowers and the False Claims Act,” for Legal Journal on Business 1570, 2013.
- “New Developments in the False Claims Act and Retaliation,” NELA 8th Circuit Conference, 2012.
- “Recent Developments: Retaliation and Post-Dukes Class Litigation,” Minnesota CLE Webcast, 2012.
- “Ethical Issues in Class Actions,” NELA’s National Convention, 2010
- “Family Responsibilities Discrimination: New Resources and another Lens for Analyzing and Winning Gender and Caregiver Discrimination Cases,” Minn. NELA Monthly Meeting, 2009
- “Attacking Mass Layoffs,” NELA’s National Convention, 2009
- “Hot Topics in Electronic Discovery,” Eighth Circuit NELA Conference, 2008
- “Representing Immigrant Workers: The Intersection of Employment, Immigration and Human Trafficking Law,” Minn. NELA Monthly Meeting, 2008
- “High-Caliber Litigation of Employment Cases in an Ever Expanding E-World,” NELA Eighth Circuit Conference, 2008
- “Rethinking Remedies: Effective Approaches to Changing a Discriminatory Workplace,” Strategic Conference on Title VII Class Actions, Impact Fund, 2007
- “Attacking Releases and Waivers: A Plaintiff’s Perspective,” Employment Law Institute, Minnesota CLE, 2007
- “Class Actions: Do Big Cases Against Big Defendants Get a Small Office, Big Money, Big Problems or Both?,” NELA Eighth Circuit Conference, 2006
- “Handling Class Actions Under the ADEA,” Impact Litigation: Representing Workers in Class, Collective & Multiple Plaintiff Actions, NELA, 2005
- “Developments in Minnesota Whistleblower Law,” MSBA Mid-Winter Labor and Employment Section Lunch Meeting, 2005
- “Punitive Damages After Kolstad,” Employment Law Institute, Minnesota CLE, 2002
- “Resisting and Limiting Defense Access to Medical and Other Private Information,” NELA National Convention, 2001
Past Employment Positions
- Hon. Robert G. Renner, United States District Court, District of Minnesota, Law Clerk, 1989 – 1991
- Sprenger & Lang, 1991 – 1997
- Messerli & Kramer PA, 1997 – 2000
- Sprenger & Lang, 2001 – 2009