A Unique Source of Authoritative Information about
the Federal Government's Enforcement Activities

Civil Enforcement

Under American law, federal agencies have three basic enforcement tools — criminal, civil, and administrative. This layer focuses upon civil enforcement — when a federal agency or official sues or gets sued in a civil court action. Common causes of action include civil rights, employment, freedom of information and privacy, antitrust, consumer protection, frauds, torts, forfeitures, taxes, and prisoner suits. The federal government also frequently intervenes in private suits when the government's interest is impacted. This often occurs in bankruptcy and other kinds of commercial litigation.

No single existing agency database covers the diversity of cases encompassed under federal civil enforcement. Thus, to provide comprehensive coverage, the current civil information is compiled from federal court sources. These court data cover all civil filings in U.S. district courts, and are not restricted to cases where the government is a party. Private suits involving a federal question or diversity of citizenship are also covered. The data begin with cases filed during .

Historical data that allow examination of the civil workload of U.S. Attorneys offices are also available, but end in December 2003. These data include cases not only in the federal district courts, but the bankruptcy and state courts in which federal prosecutors were involved. Information is restricted to civil matters. Information on referrals to U.S. Attorneys for criminal prosecutions are found on the criminal enforcement layer.