Hillary Rightler focuses her practice on white collar criminal defense matters including internal, criminal, and SEC investigations. Ms. Rightler has experience representing both individuals and corporations in handling government enforcement issues, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the False Claims Act (including government contracting and healthcare matters), Civil Investigative Demands, securities fraud allegations, and grand jury investigations.
Ms. Rightler performs a significant role in the Volkswagen AG Independent Compliance Monitor & Auditor team that oversees VW AG’s compliance with Plea Agreement and Consent Decree obligations arising from parallel criminal and civil cases concerning emissions fraud with regard to the company’s diesel-powered cars sold in the United States. She leads large working groups of attorneys, auditors, and consultants in reviewing, auditing, and testing the design and effectiveness of the company’s improvements to its compliance program.
Ms. Rightler also has experience in areas of complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis in the area of securities litigation.
Successfully obtained dismissals for directors of publicly traded companies in shareholder litigation asserting breach of fiduciary duty claims associated with merger transactions.
Defended individuals and companies in administrative proceedings for violations of federal securities laws.
Conducted internal investigations for a hospital system concerning allegations of improper billing and False Claims Act violations. Successfully convinced the Department of Justice not to take action against the hospital system.
Successfully obtained enforcement of contract for investment broker retained in sale of privately-held company after breach by sellers.
Assisted international companies with training and improvements to compliance programs on several anti-fraud and anti-corruption topics.
Represented a financial institution in a formal investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and convinced the Commission staff to close the investigation without taking any action.
Led corporate internal and government investigations of potential misconduct, including criminal antitrust and securities violations, and other criminal statutes.
Successfully defended paperboard container manufacturer in a wrongful termination action brought by a timber supplier who was seeking to recover the lost profits that it allegedly sustained after our client terminated the parties’ contract. The timber supplier relied on allegations of promissory estoppel and oral contract to claim that our client should have continued purchasing pulpwood from the supplier, despite the termination, until such time that the supplier disposed of its remaining inventory. During discovery, the timber supplier provided deposition testimony acknowledging that no enforceable promises were ever made that could support a claim for breach of oral contract or promissory estoppel. Accordingly, we moved for summary judgment on all claims asserted by the timber supplier, and following oral argument, the court granted our client's motion. The supplier appealed the trial court’s ruling to the Court of Appeals, and after the parties had fully briefed the issues, the Court of Appeals issued an opinion affirming the trial court’s decision.
Represented corporations in civil and criminal False Claims Act investigations and litigation, including government contracting, tax and healthcare matters.
Represented a hospital in a breach of contract arbitration against a commercial payor that resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement and an amendment to the parties’ agreement containing new terms that are very favorable to our client.
In less than three months, we convinced the Department of Justice not to take any action against a client employee for allegedly stealing trade secrets from a competitor. During the investigation, our client continued to be a witness and did not have any criminal exposure.
In less than four months, convinced the Civil Division of the Department of Justice that a whistleblower’s claims against a company did not merit the Government’s intervention into a sealed qui tam litigation. Soon after, the whistleblower voluntarily dismissed her litigation.
Assisted corporate clients with responses to Civil Investigative Demands issued by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and state Attorneys General.
Representing AT&T Inc. in its pending acquisition of Straight Path Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: STRP), a publicly-traded communications company with a nationwide portfolio of millimeter wave spectrum, including 39 GHz and 28 GHz wireless licenses, for $1.6 billion.
Defended a major distributor of high-end home automation technology against manufacturer’s claims for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, and tortious interference with contract and prospective economic advantage. The firm successfully defended against the manufacturer’s “scorched-Earth” discovery tactics and the case soon settled for an infinitesimal amount as compared to the manufacturer’s initial damage claim.
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Georgia State University, College of Law, J.D. (2010) summa cum laude, first in class
Vanderbilt University, B.A. (2004) magna cum laude, Chancellor's Scholar
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