Catherine M. O’Neil is a litigation partner in the firm’s Special Matters and Government Investigations Practice Group in Atlanta. Ms. O’Neil represents companies and individuals in a variety of civil and criminal regulatory enforcement matters, parallel civil litigation and internal corporate investigations. She also has significant experience handling complex commercial litigation matters and conducting corporate compliance reviews.
Representative litigation matters handled by Ms. O’Neil include:
- Lead trial counsel for Delta Air Lines in a successful suit to terminate a contract with one of Delta’s regional carriers and to recover overpayments. Ms. O’Neil continues to represent Delta in various federal and state commercial lawsuits.
- Lead trial counsel for a Fortune 100 healthcare company in administrative proceedings before the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as well as in related federal court litigation; successfully argued and obtained a temporary restraining order against the DEA.
- Lead counsel for Piedmont Hospital in a litigation matter against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSG); obtained a temporary restraining order against BCBSG.
- Trial counsel for Avondale Mills, a textile company, in a federal jury trial seeking compensatory and punitive damages from Norfolk Southern Railway arising out of a 2005 train derailment and chlorine release; the trial settled prior to verdict.
Prior to joining the firm, Ms. O’Neil served from 2003 to 2005 as an Associate Deputy Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice. Ms. O’Neil was the principal staff person to the Deputy Attorney General on matters involving domestic and international drug enforcement, drug policy, anti-money laundering strategy and asset forfeiture, and she played a key role in developing and implementing DOJ’s domestic drug enforcement strategy. Ms. O’Neil also served as the national director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Program. During her tenure with DOJ, Ms. O’Neil worked closely with the 93 United States Attorneys nationwide, with attorneys from DOJ’s Criminal Division, and with agency heads and investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and numerous other federal and state agencies. In recognition of her work, in August, 2005, Ms. O’Neil received one of DOJ’s highest honors: the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Management.
Before working at DOJ in Washington, Ms. O’Neil served from 1995 to 2002 as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. Ms. O’Neil tried a significant number of federal jury trials, including a precedent-setting case against a distributor of precursor chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine for which she received DOJ’s Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Ms. O’Neil also handled complex grand jury investigations, litigated hundreds of evidentiary hearings, and successfully argued cases before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Prior to her tenure as an Assistant United States Attorney, Ms. O’Neil was a litigation associate with the Washington, D.C., office of Davis Polk & Wardwell. Her practice areas included general commercial litigation, professional liability, securities and fraud matters, and white collar criminal defense.
In 1986, Ms. O’Neil received a B.A., with highest distinction, from the University of Virginia. She received her law degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1990. She also holds a Masters of Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Ms. O’Neil has lectured on topics including trial advocacy, complex litigation, pharmacy law, financial investigations and electronic surveillance.
Ms. O’Neil is a member of the Boards of Directors of the Georgia Council on Alcohol and Drugs, and the Atlanta Police Foundation. She is also a member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the American Society for Pharmacy Law.
Ms. O’Neil has been recognized nationally as one of the top business litigators in the Business Edition of Super Lawyers. She also has been named one of Georgia’s Super Lawyers for 2009-2013, and identified as one of the Top 50 Women among Georgia’s Super Lawyers.