Brad Phillips Talks First Amendment Rights, Hailyn Chen Addresses False Claims Act at NACUA Conference

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP attorneys Bradley S. Phillips and Hailyn J. Chen spoke at the 2016 annual conference of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) held June 26-29, 2016. 

On a panel focused on the tension between nondiscrimination laws and free speech, Mr. Phillips explained the legal standards for assessing whether speech or expressive conduct has created a discriminatory “hostile environment” that must be remedied by a college or university. His presentation then addressed what schools may and may not do when confronted with speech or expressive conduct that, while arguably creating a hostile environment, may also be protected by the First Amendment. Mr. Phillips and his fellow panelists also discussed safety and law-enforcement issues that may be triggered by events on campus and best practices for communicating with a school’s various constituencies.

Ms. Chen moderated a panel discussion of the False Claims Act and other enforcement activity related to federally sponsored research. Ms. Chen and the panelists provided an overview of how the False Claims Act has been applied to federally sponsored research and provided practical guidance on how to mitigate risks, manage investigations and handle actual and potential whistleblowers. The panel discussed new developments in government enforcement, including the Yates memo and the recent Supreme Court decision in Universal Health Services v. United States ex rel. Escobar.

Mr. Phillips is a litigator whose practice focuses on complex civil litigation in the trial and appellate courts. He has represented clients in a wide range of practice areas including nondiscrimination and First Amendment law.

Ms. Chen is a litigator whose practice focuses on complex civil litigation, white collar criminal defense, and government investigations. She has led a number of internal investigations for higher education institutions covering a wide range of issues, including potential False Claims Act violations.