John R. Fleder
John R. Fleder represents companies and individuals facing civil and/or criminal actions by the government on issues related to FDA, the FTC, the CPSC, and other federal agencies. He has more than 40 years experience, including almost 20 years personally prosecuting or supervising criminal and civil cases on behalf of these agencies, as well as later representing industry in private practice in those same types of actions. As a result, he provides insightful counsel and strategic guidance on regulatory matters, potential and actual litigation, and internal investigations concerning matters involving a number of federal agencies.
Mr. Fleder also represents clients who want to challenge FDA and other agencies in court. In these instances, he advises clients on strategies that range from seeking to avoid the need to bring suit against the government to personally litigating cases that are brought against the government. Mr. Fleder represents clients that intervene in cases where companies wish to support FDA's position in court. In his prior government service, Mr. Fleder represented federal agencies, including FDA, the FTC, and the CPSC, in lawsuits filed in federal district courts, and courts of appeals involving challenges to their programs and actions. He also spent many years supervising other government attorneys in those same actions. Mr. Fleder's experience interacting and litigating with FDA and other federal agencies spans diverse product areas.
Mr. Fleder is a prolific writer and speaker on FDA and the FTC, as well as numerous other enforcement issues. He recently participated in HPM webinars on the Park criminal liability doctrine and the Caronia off-label marketing case, which each drew an audience of more than 300 people. An article he co-authored in 2005 with Richard M. Cooper: "Responding to a Form 483 or Warning Letter: A Practical Guide," continues to be widely referenced for its insight on responses to FDA warning letters and Form 483s. His 2007 FDLI article, "Who Decides Your Fate in FDA Enforcement Matters?" is probably the first and only publication that publicly identifies the various offices that are involved in decisions by FDA to bring enforcement actions.
Prior to joining the firm in 2000, Mr. Fleder served as the Director of the Department of Justice's Office of Consumer Litigation (now called the Consumer Protection Branch), from 1985 to 1992, after having served in various other capacities in that office since 1973. As Director of the Office of Consumer Litigation, Mr. Fleder directed enforcement cases in federal courts across the country for FDA, the FTC and the CPSC. He also served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in Baltimore, Maryland.
• Recently convinced the Justice Department and FDA not to bring a proposed injunction case against a corporate client.
• Recently represented a food company in a case involving allegations of violations of the FDCA; he persuaded the court to deny FDA most of the relief FDA had sought.
• Successfully sued USDA, overturning a major ruling that USDA had promulgated; the court later awarded his client its attorney fees from the government.
• Convinced prosecutors not to initiate criminal charges against clients.
• Negotiated numerous settlements with the DOJ, FDA, the FTC, and other agencies.
• Conducted and defended depositions, and participated in numerous hearings and trials.
• Successfully prosecuted a criminal contempt case in a trial that was conducted by a federal court of appeals.
• Conducted internal investigations of corporate clients facing government investigations.
• Co-lead counsel of highly publicized trials in which two executives of the Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation were convicted of multiple felonies for defrauding the public into buying adulterated apple juice.
Awards & Recognition
DC Super Lawyer, 2014
Articles / Publications
see more articles
Garbage Runs, Fake Identities, and Surprise Home Visits - Strategies to Deal With FDA's Nontraditional Investigative Tools,
June 20, 2012
Knocking On Your Front Door: Government Visits To Employees' Homes,
August 19, 2011
Must FDA Treat Similarly-Situated Competitors the Same Way?,
The Evolution and Resurgence of Strict Liability Criminal Prosecutions Under the Park Doctrine,
October 8, 2010
Advertising and Promotion: FDA Is Not the Only Cop on the Beat,
see more speaking engagements
Advertising and Promotion of Medical Devices Conference, November 18-19, 2014
John Fleder and Jeff Shapiro will be presenting at the Advertising and Promotion of Medical Devices Conference
FDLI: Enforcement Litigation and Compliance Conference, December 10 - 11, 2013
Panel moderator for the session on "Responding to FDA Enforcement Actions - Advanced Applications"
Advertising and Promotion fo Medical Devices Workshop, November 13- 14, 2013
The Federal Trade Commission and the Regulation of Medical Devices
Real-World Implications of United States v. Caronia, January 31, 2013
FDLI Enforcement, Litigation and Compliance Conference, December 12 - 13, 2012
Moderator: Hot Topics in Enforcement: 2012 Review, 2013 Preview
see more blog entries
D.C. Circuit Squeezes the Juice Out of POM Wonderful; Denies POM’s Challenges to FTC Order Except for the Two-RCT Substantiation Requirement ,
February 1, 2015
Is Anyone Safe From an FCA Whistleblower Suit?,
January 14, 2015
FTC Tells the NAD: Thanks for Nothing,
June 6, 2014
Is the Government Entitled to Deference in FDA Criminal Cases?,
February 27, 2014
An Old Fashioned Park Criminal Prosecution With Some Twists - Part II,
January 30, 2014