Labor and employment
Vincent “Vince” McKnight, Jr. is the Managing Partner of Sanford Heisler Sharp’s
Washington, D.C., office, Co-Ombudsperson, and Co-Chair of the firm’s Whistleblower & Qui Tam Practice Group.
He represents clients in employment discrimination and wrongful discharge cases, and whistleblowers in sealed and unsealed False Claims Act/qui tam suits under investigation by the United States and other governmental stakeholders Vince led a team of lawyers representing the former Executive Vice President and Chief Security Officer at Wells Fargo who received the maximum whistleblower from the DOJ by providing critical assistance to the OCC, SEC, and DOJ in exposing the massive “fake account” scandal at Wells Fargo, which resulted in the government imposing over $3.5 billion in fines against the financial institution.
Vince was lead counsel in U.S. ex. Rel. Burgess v. Navistar, which settled for $50 million, alleging that Navistar overcharged the Government by millions of dollars in contracts for vehicles used by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Vince also represented a whistleblower in U.S. ex. rel. Bevilaqua v. CDM Smith, alleging that a government contractor submitted inflated bills for payment to the Government. CDM Smith and the Government settled the case for $10 million.
Vince represented a whistleblower against Network Appliance (NetApp) for overcharging the Government in violation of the Best Price Clause that resulted in a $128 million settlement, the largest GSA procurement fraud settlement in history at the time.
He successfully prosecuted a series of actions alleging that office products companies (Staples, Office Depot) were illegally selling products from non-compliant countries such as China to the U.S. government in violation of the Trade Agreements Act (TAA) and General Services Administration (GSA) policies. Vince served as co-counsel in United States ex rel Cox v. Smith & Nephew, alleging that Smith & Nephew violated the TAA when it illegally sold medical devices from Malaysia and China to the U.S. Government.
In the summer of 2018, Vince was on the Sanford Heisler Sharp trial team that obtained a $1.25M retaliation verdict against Professor Geert Bekaert and Columbia University on behalf of Professor Enrichetta Ravina.
Vince litigated Adams v. Cochran, in which the DC Court of Appeals first departed from the employment-at-will doctrine—the assumption that employment is for an indefinite amount of time and may be terminated at any time.
Vince has participated as a panelist at conferences hosted by Taxpayers Against Fraud and the Practicing Lawyers Institute, focusing on issues under the False Claims Act. Vince is one of a few plaintiff ’s lawyers recognized as an MVP by Law360 in Government Contracts. Martindale-Hubble gave him the Judicial AV Preeminent Rating in 2021, and prior to that, he regularly received the AV Preeminent Rating. He has also been recognized as a Best Lawyer in America and a Super Lawyer. In addition, he was named as a Lawyer of Distinction and listed on the National Black Lawyer Top 100 list.
Updated Sep 2023